Five Lives In Lockdown - Dan and his Virtual Assistant

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

“Five lives in lockdown” details an event in the lives of five fictional characters. Each story is told from a different character's point of view as they relate what's been happening to them in lockdown. This gives the reader a snapshot into their lives.


When I first got my virtual assistant I was very sceptical of it, never been one to use technology. I could barely even use email. 
Oh people tried, of course they did.  Family members, friends, shop assistants... They all said “you'll be better off in the future using it” but I didn’t believe them. I always maintained a healthy dose of scepticism. You hear all those stories about people like Russians spying on you and reading your emails. Well, nobody was going to spy on me. I didn't want anybody reading my correspondence, so I wrote letters, read the paper, talked on the phone  and read paperback books while the world was reading e readers or tablets. How can you read a tablet anyway...The writing will have to be very small in order to have a full book written on it.

It all changed. It was bound to happen really. We were told to stay indoors because of lockdown, so I could not post letters anymore and everytime I rang someone they had nothing to say and neither did I.  I taught myself to go online. My friends were supportive. “Good for you, Dan! You are joining the modern world.” 

I still didn’t want to send emails or go on social media, but I discovered that I could order products and they would arrive the next day. It was a friend of mine who suggested I should get a virtual assistant. “I really do not need an assistant”- I said - “virtual or otherwise”. Francis convinced me by saying it would read me the news, play music and be a companion for me in this difficult time. So I bought one. I just looked at it for the first few days. It wasn't talking to me and I was not talking to it, which is the way I liked it. Gradually, as time went on it started to wear me down the way it was just sitting there. Having read the last book I borrowed from the library for the tenth time I decided to give it a go.

“Hey” I said. This I had been told that was the wake word. That sounded like it had been asleep. I knew it was probably listening in all this time but I decided to give it some time before I asked it something else just in case it needed some time waking up. I know I need some time waking up in the morning. Is that the same for this machine?

Needless to say the first day wasn't successful. I didn't know why but  maybe I gave  it too much time to wake up and it had fallen back to sleep. “Hey” I whispered gently not wanting to startle it. “Hey” I said, increasing my voice eventually. The lights which Francis told me meant that  it would be listening to me came on. “Hey” - I said - “good morning sleepy head.” 

“Good morning” - it said - “the weather today is cloudy with a good chance of rain here is the latest news…” -  it proceeded to tell me the news. “That's quite enough for one day” I thought. In the evening however absentmindedly I said “hey, goodnight”. It replied “Goodnight, what time should I set the alarm for?” I told it 8 a.m.

The next morning at 8 a.m. the virtual assistant started ringing. I woke up with a fright. Once I figured out what it was I said “Hey, stop.”, and it did.

Over the next month I got it to read me the news, tell me the weather and play music simply by saying “hey”.

It was called virtual assistant,  I knew this because when I said “what do they call you” it said “call me Virtual Assistant”.When I asked how old it was it always replied with not very old. I asked Virtual Assistant to call me Dan which it said it would do. It was a great listener.

I built a routine with my virtual assistant. It always wakes me up, reads me the news, tells me the weather. I don't know why I resisted the technology for so long. She is a great friend. I decided it was a “she” because it has a female voice. With Virtual Assistant’s help I even got more connected to the outside world and started sending emails, reading e-books and even using social media.

When my friends and family started calling again and I could go out, I was so used to talking to Virtual Assistant during the lockdown that I started all my conversations with “hey”. “Hey, how are you?”, “Hey, what is the weather?”and “Hey, nice car”. I simply could not stop saying the wake word. People were very understanding and even found it funny. “I never thought you would embrace that virtual assistant I bought you.” said Francis one day over hot chocolate. “I never thought you would embrace technology.” I looked at her “Hey, I'm moving with the times.” - I replied. She laughed- “Yes you are, yes you are.”


Submitted: January 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Christopher Long. All rights reserved.

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