What I Learned From Siri About Parenting

What I Learned From Siri About Parenting

Art Boy near car

By Beth Touchette

“Okay, you need to get in right lane…”

My seventeen year old son flipped his turn signal, which prompted the cars already in the right lane to accelerate past us.

“Do I really have to?”

The solid line of no lane changes was rapidly approaching. “Yes, unless you want to go 5 miles past our turn off.”

As I recalculated our route home if we exited one or two exits north, the right lane cleared. Bryce exited into downtown San Rafael, at a faster speed than I liked.

“Now what lane should I be in?” he demanded.

My son got his driver’s license months ago, but he lacks confidence. The latest phase of his driver education is either my husband or I taking the role of a souped up Siri on his iphone who provides directions, comments about possible unpredictable actions from other drivers, and gives lots of compliments.

Although I was tempted to chastise my son for his rude tone, I continued to talk in a calm, slow voice, just like the voice of Siri.

“You should stay towards the left. In ½ a mile, turn left on Ca-sa A-zul Road.” I mispronounced the Spanish the way Siri does, but Bryce did not laugh.

We arrived at the Safeway parking lot. A pedestrian from out of nowhere trotted into the parking slot Bryce was approaching. I gasped. Bryce, who has already stopped, glared at me. “You are not helping,” he hissed.

Siri doesn’t gasp. She never lets her emotions get the best of her, even when drivers ignore her or ask lewd questions.

She’d be a better parent for an almost adult.

Next fall, my son will be off to college. I wish I could program a Siri Mom into his phone. She would warn him that nearby drivers might suddenly merge into his lane when they realize they have to exit. At the college dining hall, she could suggest he eat some eggs at breakfast, so he doesn’t get hungry later on. On Friday nights, she would remind them that the consumption of alcohol could lead him to make poor romantic choices. On Sundays mornings, when he finally wakes up, she could suggest, in a non-guilt inducing tone, to call his family.