Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Appliance Whisperer

Modern-day technology is a wonderful thing. With the mere click of a button you can order sushi, apply to graduate school, and slut-shame your loved ones. But technology also has a dark side. I learned this, as so many do, the hard way: I became able to communicate with my air conditioner.

Recently we had new air conditioners installed, which seemed unremarkable enough. Then my roommate sent me an email. It contained an invitation.

"What's this?" I asked.

"It's a link to an app called Wink," she said. "It lets you control the AC with your phone. You can communicate with it from a distance."

There stirred within me a deep, fuddy-duddy, anti-modernist force beyond my years. "What kind of a distance?"

The more I thought about it, the less comfortable I was with Wink. Don't get me wrong; I am all for communication. But I prefer the traditional kinds, such as violent argument over what episode such-and-such happened in, or the local regional variant of hurling insults at random people on the subway platform.

But communicating with appliances bothered me. There were several reasons behind this. For one, if I could communicate with the appliances, presumably they could communicate with me:

AC (via text message): HEY YOU
Me: Me?
Me: Can't. I'm ten miles away.
Me: No! It's 11 p.m. You'll wake up the neighbors.
Me: No!! Please!!!
Me: Shut up!! Please!!!! I beg you!!!

Of course this is not the worst-case scenario, since my worldly possessions consist basically of cat toys and the complete second season of "Night Court." Nonetheless, it is a harrowing future to imagine. Furthermore, since we have more than one AC, who's to say they couldn't communicate with each other, and plot against me? ("OK, BOYS! AS SOON AS SHE'S ASLEEP, WE REVERSE THE FLOW AND SUCK HER FACE OFF HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE.")

So I have left well enough alone. I remain wary of ever using Wink. I leave this to my roommate, who is more attuned to household matters anyway. It was she who originally noticed that the original ACs had become sub-par, in the sense that they had grown stalactites and stalagmites and a colony of badgers was living inside. Whereas I am the kind of "big-picture thinker" who cannot be bothered to pick up on such minimal details, although to my credit I did occasionally wonder why the badgers were biting me.

Anyway, regardless of my app-phobia, I'm attempting to "get with the times" and maybe even invent some apps of my own. If I can communicate with my air conditioners, nothing is truly beyond reach. Here are a few of my preliminary ideas for new, revolutionary apps:

1. THE "PEN GENERATOR" OR "PENERATOR" APP. As has been the case my whole life, whenever I want to write, I can't find a pen. This app would automatically generate pens in my purse, thereby assuring that whenever I had an idea, I would instantly find a pen ... and therefore immediately lose all interest in writing. Advantage: Cuts out all those pesky middle steps between you and lack of inspiration.

2. THE MERKY APP. I share my home with a deranged gray cat named Mercutio, a cute furry cuddly presence who would really like to bite me to death. I have many times explained to Merky that I will bite him back, but he knows these are idle threats. This app would therefore do my dirty work for me, unleashing bites on Merky from afar whenever he is even thinking of doing something bad, which is always. I would call it the iBite, if I didn't fear litigation.

3. THE "RESTROOM-SEEKING MISSILE" APP. As you know if you have spent significant time in New York, an estimated 87% of life is spent walking around in search of a public restroom whose mere proximity to your body will not kill you instantly. Enter the "Restroom-Seeking Missile" app, which would detect a useable restroom in your vicinity and alert you. The only downside is that this alert would be triggered approximately never. So maybe a more fruitful way would be to have the app alert you to BAD restrooms, but then the sheer volume of alerts would probably cause your phone to burst into flames.

Those are my ideas, and despite my stodginess in the face of modern technology, I truly do plan to pursue them into the future, at least until I get bored sometime in the next hour or two.  In the meantime, if you'll excuse me, my air conditioner is calling me. Something about wanting a movie night. Thank goodness, because I was beginning to worry it didn't like me.


Jodi Bennett said...

Yeah, it's weird that even ACs can be controlled by phones nowadays. Technology does take these weird detours, a lot of which does feel unnecessary. But in the end, what matters is that the AC is working right. Now, if that app can tell you if something's wrong with the AC, then it would be immensely helpful, don't you think? Good day!

Jodi Bennett @ Marsh Heating

DS,LK & F said...

I would like it much better if I didn't think that this would be extrapolated to the amount of cocoa solids/cream/turbinado sugar that I think is necessary for a decent cuppa...

I have no doubt that this is the 'camels nose' in our quiet, completely unprivate lives.

Love & Hugs!

Hope you are well!


Christine Krebs said...

If the "Pen Generator App" ever becomes a reality I'll be the first one in line to buy it. If it causes the pen to be generated in a manner so that it is always at the top of the contents of the purse that would be even better!