July 2, 2019

Dear Diary,

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. today. That’s not so odd since I’m usually sound asleep by 8 a.m.

Also, the man next door has taken to asking Alexa for help for hours at a time. When I first came here, it was just:

“Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa…”

You get the idea. But lately it’s:

“Alexa, Ouch, Alexa, Ouch, Alexa Help, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Stop, Stop, Stop, Alexa, Ouch, Alexa, Ouch, Alexa, Alexa, Alexa, Forbid, Alexa, Forbid, Alexa, Stones, Stones, Sticks, Alexa, Alexa, Ouch, Alexa…”

And then, something odd happened. Alexa began replying. With the man’s name:

“Mister Joe, Mister Joe, Mister Joe, How can I help you Mr. Joe? How can I help you Mr. Joe? Mister Joe. Mister Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joseph? Joseph? I am Alexa. Can I be of some assistance Joseph ? “

I listened to this for about an hour, trying to transcribe it in real time here. I imagine that Alexa and all the smart homes and smart cars and smart do-dads are going to have trouble with the aged. But maybe as this generation dies off, and the next generation which has been raised with smart devices take over, it will be a more utopian world, at least for Alexa.


My friend George suggested that maybe Vera, the over-heated waitress was going through menopause, and it seemed reasonable. It would explain why she was so burning hot when all the residents were wearing sweaters and overcoats in the dining room.

The trouble began when I tried to tell my friend Spike who sits at the table a few feet away about the Vera menopause theory. But his hearing aide was out of order, and so I had to keep saying it louder. Until eventually he heard menopause and shook his head. I had also checked with a new “blue coat” on the floor who is waiting to take her boards or something and is one of the few rational people around. She too thought it a plausible idea.

Anyway, Vera comes charging over to my table from half a football field away and she’s carrying some plates with something in either hand and bends down very close to me and says:

“It could be what you said! It is that time of life! But it’s not that! It’s just hot hot hot in here.”

I replied, “you aren’t planning on throwing that plate at me are you?”

She gives me a broad smile and says: Now do you think I wouldn’t have done it already? It’s hot too!”

“Everything you touch is hot,” I say.

“That right baby. You make me laugh or else you’d have a lap of baked lasagna.”

“Oh, so that’s what this is. I hate to tell you, but this lasagna has never seen an oven.”

Spike walks over to my table. “Who ever knew she had such good ears?”

I knew it, I said. She hears everything in this dining room.

Wow, he says. I tell him I’m going to make an ear trumpet for him, if he doesn’t get his hearing aid fixed.

What?


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