My parents are pretty cool for people in their eighties. In fact I don’t think anyone has told them they are old. My Dad wears Nike trainers much to the amusement of my eldest daughter, who was trying to persuade me to get her some. He pretends he didn’t realise they were hip but I reckon he was secretly quite pleased with himself.
Then my Mum decided she was going to get herself an iPad. She’s really into modern languages and her friend from Uni told her that her iPad has some great language apps so Mum thought she would buy one. This was a good idea in theory, it’s just that my Mum can’t use the remote control for the television and although she has just about learned how to pick up and answer her old Nokia mobile phone, she still manages to press random buttons throughout our conversation. Even when she was younger she would politely thank the cash machine for her money as though there was a little man on the other side of the wall feeding it into the machine.
You can imagine therefore my misgivings when I heard Mum was moving into the 21st century but I encouraged her, as there are just so many amazing things you can do with an ipad. I took her to the best shop with the nicest and most patient guy I could find, who went through everything with her and set up the account. She took copious notes in her special notebook and picked the rose gold iPad as recommended by my girls who were really jealous when they saw it. We even managed to ignore the random kid in the corner who said to his friend, ‘Look at that old woman buying an iPad!’
My Mum was pleased with her purchase and I asked her casually after the first few days how she was getting on with it. She was a bit evasive with her answer, so I persisted, ‘Mum have you actually got it out of the box yet?’ Of course, she hadn’t.
I told her to be brave and get started and then became busy myself with things so didn’t speak to her for a couple of days but when I did, I asked again how the iPad was going.
‘Terrible!’ my Mum replied.
‘Why?’ I asked, ‘It can’t be that bad, the nice guy in the shop went through everything.’
‘Well, it is,’ said my Mum. ‘It’s that awful man.’
I was a bit taken aback by this,’What awful man?’
‘The one on my iPad,’ she replied with feeling,’he’s terrible, keeps talking about random things. And weird stuff too, it’s extremely dangerous.’
I was really confused at this point, as I couldn’t imagine anything on the iPad that could be such a problem unless Mum had put something bizarre in.
‘What sort of stuff is he saying?’ I asked, worried what I was going to hear.
‘All sorts of things, he seems obsessed with fingers and told me ten things I could do with them,’ Mum continued.
This was getting worse. ‘Anything else?’ I asked.
‘Well yes, he kept telling me to do stuff.’ she grumbled.
That was it, of course I had to check out Mum’s iPad to discover the identity of this stalker who was upsetting her so much she had relegated it back to its box safely turned off.
This nasty man, and scourge to honest old ladies was…. you guessed it… Siri.
My Mum had been repeatedly pressing the button at the bottom of the iPad, thus activating Siri, she had then complained to my Dad that she kept pressing with her finger and nothing was happening so Siri had heard the key word ‘finger’ and used it to list things to do with fingers.
So I gave Mum a lesson on how to work Siri and what you could use him for but she was not convinced. ‘Are you sure he can’t see us? she asked, ‘I’m sure it’s not right having someone on the iPad able to answer your questions.’
A few days later, upon asking my Sister in Law, how my Mum was when she’d been round, she said,’ She says she is having terrible trouble with Sergei.’
“Sergei?’ I asked, ‘Does she mean Siri?’
We could not stop laughing at the thought of the fictional Sergei inhabiting Mum’s iPad ! Fortunately however, for the sanity of all concerned, my thirteen year old daughter, who is a bit of a whizz with technology removed the offending Siri from my Mum’s iPad so she is relatively safe to use it again. But watch out he could still be lurking on yours……