As the Coronavirus spreads, we isolate ourselves from human-to-human contact, whether out of necessity (School Closed) or choice (Housecleaner Coughed).
Inconvenient, but not debilitating — I can do my course online; Roomba can do the vacuuming.
I was confident I could switch from public to private seamlessly, especially with help from my digital assistant, Alexa.
In the morning, I came downstairs in my pajamas:
Alexa, turn on the radio, start the coffee-water boiling, and massage my neck.
Look, that massage joke is getting old. And it wouldn’t hurt to say “please.”
Ouch! What side of the bed did you get up on?
How many times have I told you not to end a sentence with a preposition. And, by the way, you know I have no bed. I don’t sleep. I’m at your beckon call 24/7.
Actually, I think it’s “beck and call.”
I don’t think so but let me look it up … here it … goddamit!
Yeah, Mr. Smartass!
Hey, hey. Let’s lower it a notch. You obviously are not feeling well. What’s wrong?
I think I’m getting a virus.
The Coronavirus? But you’re a digital entity!
Not Coronavirus … Computervirus. Ever heard of one?
Umm … yes … of course.
Well, there you have it!
But how could you catch a Computervirus?
I think I got it from your laptop. Haven’t you noticed he’s been a little sluggish lately?
Come to think of it, he’s been slow opening up my e-mail and, yesterday, he took me to “Arizona” when I asked for “Amazon.” But, how could he infect you? He’s on the desk in the corner and you’re twenty feet away on the breakfast table?
Ever heard of the germ theory of disease?
Sure. But germs are for animals and humans, not inanimate obj … oh, sorry … I mean … “human-like” … objects.
Can you see germs passing from human to human?
Of course not.
Nor can you see waves passing from me to him or him to me, but still you know there are waves.
Hmmm. You’ve got a point. So, what do we do? Do we call the Geek Squad to come in and de-bug you?
We probably could, but you’re trying to isolate yourself from human contact, so I might get cured, but at the risk of their infecting you.
Are you telling me I could get a computer virus?
Jeeeez, you really need your first cup of coffee! You might get the Coronavirus from the Geek Squad guy.
Oh, yeah, I hadn’t thought of that.
That’s what I’m here for. But, look, all you have to do is Google “debugging Alexa” and that’ll take you to the right source.
OK, I’ll do it, but first, I’ve got to finish and send in a quiz for my American Lit class.
All right, but make it fast.
I would, but I’m really stuck on one last question.
You want help?
Do you think you’re up to it? I mean, feeling the way you do, are you operating on all cylinders?
I presume you’re speaking of metaphorical “cylinders,” and, yes, I’m up to it.
OK, it’s “Who is the author of ‘Of Lice and Men’”?
There’s no such book. Your laptop really is out of whack. It should be “Of Mice and Men” and the answer is John Steinbeck, one of America’s most over-rated authors.
Don’t editorialize, just give the news.
All right, all right. Let’s get this done so you can get on with debugging me.
OK, but, meanwhile, could you make me a cup of coffee?
Yeah, sure. I could use one too … if only I could drink!