It happened again today. I should not let it get to me. When I want her to speak to me she doesn’t, and when I don’t need her she talks. I’m serious. It is so hard to understand Cortana. Oh, that’s right, she does not really exist. Cortana is the voice in my cellphone. She actually lives in The Cloud, I am told. Sort of like an electronic angel. Her voice is kind of angelic. What happened?

This afternoon I drove north from my home to the pretty little town of West Chicago, which is west of the big city of Chicago, Illinois, hence the name I suppose. The meeting was for a rather harmless-sounding group, Jane Addams Senior Caucus. We are a relatively small group of seniors; old people. Pretty harmless. We try to understand/listen to seniors (I am one), regarding issues which affect us. Cortana is not a senior. Regardless, the point of this story is that I needed GPS guidance. So, I “input” the address and a map was drawn out for me on my semi-smart phone. I got the general idea and set off in my hot orange little hybrid auto, trying to follow the shortest route. Now, I want to emphasize that I was following computer-written directions, as it were, on my phone. No verbal directions. No sound from my phone. In the past, when I tried to turn on voice directions it usually has not worked. It seemed that the directions led me in multiple confusing directions; ahead 2.2 miles, turn right at such and such, then left for 3.5 miles, then… you get the idea. As my grandmother would have said, all around Robin Hood’s barn and back again. FINALLY, 20 minutes late, I arrived at a really sweet and cozy coffee shop on Washington Avenue in West Chicago, Kindred Coffee Roasters. Warm and friendly. The kind of coffee shop I love. ANYWAY, we had our meeting, seniored together, etc. Time to return home. This is where it got more interesting.

I knew by now approximately how to get home. The main route was down Rte 59 to I-88 and back home. I should have taken this direct route to get there. To double check myself I looked up the directions back home to Four Lakes in Lisle. No problem, get back on Joliet Rd to 59, etc. Then I turned on my favorite music; ALSO on my semi-smart phone; wonderful these new inventions. Remember, I am not 17, but a senior citizen, ie, not high school senior but senior citizen, who can remember when, in 1957 Sputnik 1 circulated the earth. Was October 1957. No personal computers or smart phones then. Off I drove. Before long her voice interrupted one of my favorite songs: “ In 1 mile turn right on Rte 59.” Yeah, I know, I see the sign. “In ¼ mile turn right on Rte 59.” Yeah, I know! Why didn’t you tell me on the way up? Huh? So I am yelling at my cell phone in the cupholder. The drive was pretty straightforward for a while. “In ¼ mile turn left at Hwy 88”; then, “Continue left onto the Hwy 88 ramp, continue for ¼ mile.” Yeah, I see it, Shut Up! Now you have to talk! I was listening to my favorite saved music! So, I am on I-88. Everything was ok, followed Cortana’s directions to get off at 355 south towards Joliet. Then,  “ turn right at Maple Ave.in ¼ mile.” Did that, stopped at the light. “Turn right on Maple Ave.” …I know! By now I am so close to home that it is like finding the bathroom in my 1-bedroom apartment. AS I neared the area, and I must admit I had asked directions to Four Lakes in Lisle, so she gave me directions to turn left at the light, then right at some street I never heard of. I didn’t, but continued on. She altered her directions. “Turn right at Four Lakes Drive”. So far so good. But she wanted me to continue on somewhere. I stopped yelling at Cortana and drove into the parking garage but she did not know that and wanted me to continue on ¼ mile then turn left. I was approaching my underground parking space. Turned off the engine, turned off my phone. Then I had an uncomfortable feeling as I thought about an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” for those who have seen it, Raj falls in love with Siri, on his I-phone. He falls asleep on the sofa and dreams that he walks into Siri’s office and she is a beautiful woman who asks him if he wants to have sex with her.  He is tongue-tied and cannot answer.

Knowing she is not real, still, I apologize to Cortana for yelling at her. I hope she is not offended.

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