Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Watch Me!

Maybe it’s got something to do with age, but I’m not a big fan of technology. Which is a bit embarrassing considering my 80-year old Aunt Wai-ling spends her days WhatsApping her wayward nieces, playing mystery games on Facebook, and hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots wherever she goes.
            “Why haven’t you responded to my WhatsApp?” she asked me the other day. “I sent you that funny video!”
            I bristled. “I’m very busy, Auntie Wai-ling!”
            “Busy, your head, lah! You’re always at the airport going somewhere!”
            “I love Auntie Wai-ling!” Saffy later said with approval. “She really doesn’t hold back, does she? So what was the video you hadn’t watched?”
            “The ad for the Apple Watch. She wants to know if she should get it.”
            The thing about technology is just when you think you’ve gotten a hang of it, it turns right around and heads screaming off into another direction. I remember, not that long ago, when all a phone did was, well, make phone calls. And now look at it with its maps and music and games and stuff – it even talks to you.
            The other day, Amanda asked Siri if she’d watched ‘Her’ and she replied, “Is that you, Joaquin?”
            “How do they do that?” Amanda asked, thoroughly freaked.
            Saffy’s impressive bosom inflated. “Well, clearly, there must be some kind of call centre thing in Mumbai that’s feeding answers to the phones!”
            Amanda stared at Saffy.
            Saffy blinked. “What? You think it’s not possible? There’s a reason why Mumbai has low unemployment rates, you know!”
            Just the other day, I wanted to send a document to Barney Chen and I suddenly realized I had no idea what his email address was.
            “Doll, nobody has email anymore!” he growled over the phone when I rang to ask. “Only old people over 25 email.”
            “But you’re th…Hello? Oh my God, did he just hang up on me?” I asked Saffy.
            “People can be so rude,” she observed. “Excuse me, I just farted.”
            And now the Apple Watch. Once upon a time, all a watch did was tell you the time. Or if you were really fancy, it had a stop-watch function. And if you were really really fancy, it told you the date.
            After watching the Apple commercial for its new watch, I turned to Amanda. “Why would I want to know what my heart-rate is?” I asked.
            She shrugged. “Some people do,” she said. “They’re probably training for the marathon or something.”
            “Auntie Wai-ling is 80 and she wants an Apple watch but I don’t think she’s training for the marathon! It also tells you if you’ve been sitting for too long and need to stand up!”
            “Why?” Amanda asked.
            I shrugged and confessed I’d not given much deep thought to the matter.
            “What if you’re lying down?” Saffy wanted to know.
            “I’m sure there’s an app for that too,” I said, thinking bitterly about the fact that I had come up with the idea for the Cloak app first and someone else beat me to it on development and launch.
            Amanda scrolled down the Apple website on her phone. “I like that they have so many bands. You could have one for every outfit! Maybe I should get one too!”
            “But you have a Samsung phone,” I pointed out.
            Amanda looked surprised. “So? I’m not getting the iPhone. I’m getting the watch.”
            “You need to have an iPhone for the watch to work. It doesn’t work otherwise,” I clarified in case I hadn’t been clear.
            Amanda was incredulous. “What, to get the Apple watch, I also have to buy a new iPhone?”
            “It’s marketing genius!” Saffy said. “God, I wish I had Apple shares. You know how people are always asking you if you could go back in time and meet your 18 year old self, what advice would you give them? Well, I would advise me to buy Apple shares. As many as I could. Oh my God, imagine how rich I would be today!”
            “Who’s always asking you?” I said.
            Saffy’s bosom slowed down as she replayed the last few minutes of the conversation in her head.
            “People do,” she said finally.
“Yes, but who?”
People! God, you’re so annoying! If I had an Apple watch on right now, it would be telling me that you’re stressing me out with your inane questions.”
Meanwhile, Auntie Wai-ling went and bought herself an Apple watch, but she says she has to take it off whenever she plays mah-jong. “It keeps telling me to stand up!” she WhatsApp’d me. “Play mah-jong, how to stand up? You must sit! I am not a dog!”
“You tell ‘em, Auntie Wai-ling!” Saffy said.


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