What can I help you with ?
Play something old.
Which old ?
I scan the list and settle on “Seems Like Old Times”, remembering when we watched Annie Hall and fell in love with Keaton breathing into that microphone, red rose pinned to her lapel, awkward and adorable. Siri doesn’t remember Annie Hall and offers me the opportunity to buy some film of the same name starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. You always hated Chevy Chase. I had a soft spot for Three Amigos but tended to keep quiet about it.
Hey Siri. Play something new. We’re past the pleasantries of what can I help you with now. Straight to business.
Which new ?
Option one is Star Wars: A New Hope. Who says algorithms can’t know you ? Of course that’s what I’d choose in almost any other circumstance but it’s not going to help tonight. You love that film. I prefer Empire Strikes Back, ever the connoisseur, but it was always “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” and “you came in that, you’re braver than I thought” for you. Two questions in and we’re still stuck in the late 70s and I’m still stuck with memories of you.
Hey Siri. Give me something borrowed. I change tack slightly. Conversation with my phone isn’t playing out quite how I wanted. What did I expect ? A curated cure-all list of content custom crafted for circumspection and forgetting ? An abbreviated alliterative approach to answering angst through algorithmic artificial intelligence ?
Two options. Two films both called “Something Borrowed”. Way to go there Siri. I click on one of them and it promises a story of Rachel, a successful attorney, and also a loyal and generous friend. She is, alas, still single. After one too many at her 30th birthday (we’ve all been there Rachel) she ends up in bed with her long term crush Dex (okay, so we’ve not all been there). Dex, it turns out, is engaged to her best friend… I have not seen this movie. We, certainly, would never have gone to see this movie although, ironically, you did sleep with my best friend so perhaps it would have been helpful. Some involuntary twitch, popcorn spiralling into the air during a scene that was a little too close to home. Maybe it’d have prefaced some guilt induced confession. Maybe we’d have been sleeping together afterwards and lost in the moment you’d have called out “Dex” in faint ecstatic desperation and I’d have pieced together that all was not well. My name is not Dex for the avoidance of doubt.
Hey Siri. Play something blue.
Hmm. I’m not finding anything called “something blue”.
The phone screen fades black before a woman’s face fills the screen, blue grey, frozen in silent contemplation. Joni. I say a silent prayer that Siri has picked this ahead of boy band Blue’s “All Rise” which I suspect is lurking somewhere in my iTunes folder. That was you. You liked Blue and Take That and Five (or technically, if stupidly, 5ive) and all of that chart fodder for kids that don’t know any better and grown ups that wish they didn’t. I like Joni. Depressing as shit. Isn’t that what you said ? Joni and Bob and Leonard and Neil and Carole and Warren. All dismissed. I played you “Big Yellow Taxi” once to try and convert you by stealth. Said you preferred the Counting Crows version. That should have been enough. I should have slept with John then, saved you the bother of doing it. Paved paradise and put up a parking lot. You said it Joni. You said it.
Hey Siri. Play something old. Play something new. Play something borrowed. But mostly, right now, just play “Blue”.