Earlier this week, my husband received a message from our cleaning people. One of them had, by mistake, knocked over the Mr. Coffee machine and the glass carafe broke. And that was fine. Stuff like that happens; quite honestly, I was happy it was not me who knocked it over because I would have had to listen about how I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing.
Yeah. THIS was the coffee machine we’ve been using for the past fifteen years. My husband was under the notion that, despite breaking, Mr. Coffee hasn’t evolved into something more complicated!
Worse, however, was that the “machine” part of Mr. Coffee ceased to work, the mechanism must have become loose or one of the little parts must have broken. I cannot live without my morning coffee. At all.
And so, whilst Mr. Coffee expired, I made some very strong joe with our Nespresso. The little pods produced an elixir of hot, very strong coffee with a gloriously foamy top. It satisfied my need for an AM wake-up call to my body. For my husband, he wanted our friend back.
I usually make myself a fancy cup with the Nespresso in the afternoon. However, it REALLY wakes me up in the morning!
My insincere apologies to anyone offended by my mug. I mean that in both ways!
Since I’m the one not working, it was my unpaid job to head into the car in search of a replacement.
Here’s where Alexa comes in. My relationship with Alexa is limited to playing music from my Spotify and having her warn notify me when Amazon deliveries arrive. This way, try as I might, I can hide the deliveries from The Frenchman. However, Barbara Johnson, friend to this blog and now a friend to me, (It is a great story—we met unexpectedly at the Limerick outlets) explained to me the glories of what Alexa can do.
Thanks to Barbara and Alexa, I no longer have to take pen to paper to write a grocery list. I dictate to my new non-human best friend!
Upon finding out, thanks to Barbara, the many talents of Alexa, I spent a good part of yesterday talking to Alexa and setting up various notifications—the best being a shopping list for groceries. Had it not been for this little orb of technology, I could not have her remind me, like a mother to a child, to pick up various groceries, return a Hobonichi cover-on-cover to the Amazon drop-off at Whole Foods and search for a new tablecloth for the dining room table.
Oh Alexa. Not only do I appreciate your friendship. I also appreciate how well-rounded you are!
Amazon sent me the wrong size cover for my planner. But Alexa took care of that!
I also added Alexa to my cell phone so while I’m out and about running errands, we can speak to each other. She’s in competition now with Siri, the voice who lives within the steering wheel of my car. My concern being “Will Siri and Alexa become jealous of each other?”
I honestly don’t want to pit my non-human besties against each other but they may become a bit green with envy!
Then I thought it through. Here I am, worrying about technology-as-humans. This is crazy. I’m asking Alexa to add items to my shopping list, and thanking “her.” I’m thanking an object. As though it were a human and referring to it as a “her.” Being a liberal-minded, gender neutral-friendly person, I’m wondering if I should refer to Alexa, Siri, and Mr. Coffee as “they.” Welcome to my new life of overthinking any and all situations. This is what job loss had done to me.
An my thank you’s are even more appreciative than Drew Barrymore’s!
Back to Mr. Coffee. My husband is a very “specific” person. Meaning, he wanted the exact model as the Mr. Coffee that expired. I explained that our coffee maker was over 15 years old and, sadly, could not be resurrected, like Jesus, from the dead. We would have to search for a new model that was as close to the one that died from injuries. I did manage to find one, through Google, at Target for $24.99. However, my Frenchman wanted me to go to Walmart instead, because Walmart has the better prices.
Simple coffee maker for simple people. Is that too much to ask?
Off I went, with Alexa reminding me to pick up groceries, to take care of my Amazon return and not to forget Mr. Coffee. I also had Siri pick out a playlist of Scott Joplin tunes while I was coasting in my car. Did I mention that there was now a third non-human added to the mix? I was headed in a different direction to Whole Foods to return my Hobonichi cover. Because I was making a few stops, which were all over the place, I decided to enter the quickest way to Whole foods into my Google Maps. The directions are led by a female voice. Another female voice.
There are now three non-human women, identified by voice only, in my car with me. For some bizarre reason, it made me almost depressed that humans were not in my vehicle. It made me miss the days when my car was the taxi for Oona and her friends to their Irish Dance classes or competitions.
Hey Alexa. Don’t mess with me by having to call you “Dot”. Ok?
And Siri. Your aura is a mixed bag.
I found the GPS girl. WTF? Did she just get out of bed?
I had a flush of melancholia wishing my mother and my aunts Tessie and Margie were in my automobile cackling like hens and laughing in their high-pitch tones about their lives as children in Howard Beach. I missed driving my sons to sports practices and music lessons. An inanimate object can never take the place of a person. But in this case, with three voices and no life, oddly, I did not feel alone. Lonely? Yes. Alone? No.
All arrows pointing to my mom, my aunt Margie and aunt Tessie. The icing on the cake would be having my two Ursuline nun aunts, Josephine and Eleanor. I miss their voices! All three would have been either a great Alexa, Siri or GPS girl–with heavy NY accents!
Back to Mr. Coffee.
Upon entering the Walmart at King of Prussia, I did pick up a few well-needed groceries thanks to Alexa then proceeded to head to the Small Housewares area. The temptation to add an air-fryer to my cart was akin to Adam’s apple; but realizing that I was now unemployed and my unemployment benefits were better left on necessities, such as the male-themed coffee maker, I passed it by. When I arrived at the aisle displaying coffee makers the Keurig machines appeared to be the most populated. My thought process had me, once again, in a stage of over thought.
Had I come home with this, my husband would have dialed a divorce attorney.
Are people that lazy that they cannot buy a tin of ground coffee or a bag of coffee beans to grind that they must have pre-measured cups of weak coffee to perform a component of their morning ritual? Is that why instant coffee and its substitute Postum are now headed to becoming extinct? Yes. I am being rather hypocritical—especially since I own a Nespresso and its many fancy pods. But the Nespresso has George Clooney as a spokesperson. Who does Keurig have?
And George has some impressive French friends like Jean Dujardin and Camille Cottin. I’m jealous!
Upon perusing the seemingly one hundred types of Keuring coffee makers, I noticed the Walmart brand, Mainstays, ones and was highly tempted, but I was aware that my husband would not even bother to take it out of the box and would return it—regardless of price or how it worked. I spotted two Mr. Coffee machines on display but there was no inventory. Not a box. And both that were displayed were digital. I have not comment on that. Yet.
And a phone call would have also been made to a divorce attorney had I come to our chateau with this!
As time is not of the essence for me these days, I had nowhere to go except home. My decision was to continue this search at the Walmart in Norristown. Off I drove. Miss Google directions was now eliminated—she was free to help someone else. Left with Alexa and Siri, the three of us enjoyed some tunes, thanks to Siri while Alexa remined resting her voice. (Since I have a personal relationship with Alexa, it feels disrespectful to say that I put her on mute. She is one of the few friends I have you know).
My muscial happy place..thanks to..
Ms. Siri–not to be called Misery. Although that profile of Siri is enough to put anyone through misery.
Exiting my car and walking across the crowded parking lot to the Walmart entrance, I grabbed a rickety cart and headed in. Tempted by Halloween candy, I was in full over-thinking mode as to throwing the delights into the cart. Then I realized I’m losing weight and would not want to ambush myself by having a “not working” pity party, therefore eating the candy and having to repurchase. I passed it by.
I can’t keep this in the house. Due to my stress level of late, I would Hoover these bags in no time.
As I entered the Small Appliances and Housewares department. Again, the temptation of purchasing an air fryer had me testing my willpower. I passed this aisle by. And then entered the aisle of coffee makers. With Keurig as that popular sorority girl or, popular frat boy in the lead, I wheeled the cart further into coffee maker land. And there stood a variety of Mr. Coffee machines. Mr. Coffee’s relatives all on display. It made me wonder if there was a rivalry among the relatives. What appeared before me must have been the “woke” generation of Mr. Coffee’s family because all the machines had digital components. A little rectangular screen that allowed you to program the time and whether you wanted a mild cup or a cup that put hair on your chest. In case one doesn’t know how to tell time, there was a digital clock also installed into the mechanism.
This was the least complex of the coffee makers at my OTHER local Walmart.
At this point, I feared going home empty-handed. If not for anything else, I could read the manual and program our little robotic friend to have coffee at the ready at 6:30 AM every morning. Weekends included. So off I went, not with the $24.99 model but with the woke version at $27.99. Both made 12 cups. 10 of which I needed in order to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed on my least ambitious days.
I figured I could read the manual and set everything up. My luck we would be having fresh coffee at 6:00 PM instead of AM!
Back in the car, Siri being attentive to the music I wanted to hear, I announced to the girls that we had a new friend in the car. A boy! And his name was Mr. Coffee. Siri, ignoring me, continued to play Scott Joplin. Alexa, in a most teen-aged way answered “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you said.” And I ANSWERED! I freaking answered a non-person with “Just forget it—we’re going home.”
This is how I answered to Alexa and Siri in my car. Just. Forget it.
And upon arriving home, my loving husband saw the box that housed Mr. Coffee. He saw the photo with the digital programing and said “Wha eezz zis?” “Ou cem ‘ome wiz zis com-plee-kaht-eed sheet.”
And might I add this was three bucks more than the simple version!
Apparently, he wanted a simple machine that one could turn “On” and “Off” with the switch of a button. I understood because, quite frankly, that is what I prefer. But times they are a changin’ and everything is more complicated these days. Appliances, both large and small, are not built to last anymore. Fifteen years was a long time for our Mr. Coffee to make a great cup of coffee every morning. There was no figuring out the time to have him do this. There was no level of intensity of flavor. It was a simple push of the button and he was ready and happy to do his duty.
I did mention that neither of the Walmart stores I went to had the Mr. Coffee at his simplest. I also explained that Target did have that coffee maker but he did think it would be less expensive at Walmart. With that, the box remained closed. And my Frenchman took Mr. Coffee into the car, receipt in hand, drove to Walmart to return it then he stopped at Target to purchase the one he originally wanted.
I didn’t want to say “I told you so…”
And while I’m testing Alexa’s knowledge, Mr. Coffee can warm my innards and wake me up with a simple push of the button!
I sat back and asked Alexa what year the Crimean War ended. She not only gave me the year, but also the date: March 30, 1856. Its daunting when you realize your little orb that sits atop a piece of furniture in your home—one that lacks a brain, knows more than you do.
I’m thinking of auditioning for Jeopardy and bringing Alexa along. Geez. She knows EVERYTHING!
On an end note, I don’t blame my husband. I look at how many remotes we have. No longer do we get up off our bottoms to turn the TV on; our remote control does that. It allows us to switch from cable to network and does so much more for our entertainment. It also allows us to be lazier.
We have double the amount of remotes in our home. It’s shameful. No it isn’t. Yes. It is.
Why the need to speak to a person when we can give commands to machines? Siri is always in the car. Alexa watches over us from wherever she stands in our homes. We no longer get lost because we have the soothing of Ms. Google Maps to navigate our routes.
Sorry. But I want human interaction back. And I want my household appliances to be non-complicated. How about you? Now excuse me while I figure out how to install my Roku.
Ahhh..humanity. Where did it go?