Attachment by Lois Alcosser: Just don't ask

With the possibility of being labeled a facsimile of Billie Burke or Zasu Pitts, I am still dumbfounded when I receive a phone call reminding me of a doctor’s appointment that is totally spoken by a robot. In this case, the cheery, smiling voice of an ersatz medical secretary. It is such a well-produced imitation that I can almost see her, in her crisp white blouse, with her pearly teeth and just-back-from-the-salon blonde hair.

She’s nice enough to remind me that if I must cancel my appointment, I better do it no later than the day before or it will cost me $50. She knows my name (although there is a slight pause for her software brain to find it.)

I’m not a stranger to phone calls, circa 2014. I have won several trips to the Bahamas, I have been offered ways to consolidate my debts, have my house power-washed, buy a kayak, learn Mandarin, accept a free trial of a mouthwash, as well as calls from nobody, which I’ve been told are multiple calls to five people and the first to respond gets the message.

Apple’s $349 new wristwatch with interchangeable wristbands and features too bizarre to remember is the beginning of a world that will belong to current three-year-old toddlers. (Though they won’t be called that. They may be known as A3009 or X11.)  Information about anything and everything will float through the air and slip into wearable digital devices: necklaces, earrings, cufflinks, umbrellas, shoes.

It’s really imperative that sarcasm, disgust, anger, bewilderment, rejection of this electronic environment be silenced, forgotten, buried like some sort of atomic waste.

Because there is a huge canyon separating the new communication from the old that’s getting wider and deeper every day. Gray hair, wrinkles, wobbly knees used to signify the wisdom of the elderly. No more. Instead, it’s whether you instant message or not, it’s how many apps you have, it’s whether you’re comfortable tweeting.

And if it’s just too much to conquer, just don’t ask. Silence can protect your unbearable ignorance. Whatever you do, don’t make fun of non-human-non-alive voices. Be glad most of them are still speaking English.