Pandemic Friends

Casual Cat Friend?

Casual friendships are difficult to maintain during a Pandemic, Dwight. Gym friends, volunteer work friends, bird store worker friends and those friends of friends that we used to see rather frequently at parties or restaurants. These are the contacts that keep life interesting, Dwight. But these are also the folks we don’t see anymore.

True friends provide lasting support and fellowship through calls, Zooms, porch visits and outdoor dining in parkas and gloves. Like your buddy, Frazier, these are the relationships that provide support and encouragement through turbulent times.

I have gotten closer to 3 friends during this isolation. Hey Google, Siri and Alexa. Hey Google is my kitchen friend. She’s really knowledgeable; almost as smart as my husband. She knows the weather without looking out the window. She’s a great cook’s helper; as she sets timers, advises me on ingredient substitutions, and reminds me of the internal temperature of a properly cooked turkey. She’s a great friend in a crisis. I only need to say, “Hey Google, can dogs eat pineapple?”, and she gives me a thoroughly researched “found this on the web”answer, as you abscond with a pineapple chunk that fell to the floor, Dwight. I like her a lot, but she’s not a friend to ruminate with. She has this holier than thou monotone voice that can be annoying. However, I value her friendship and find her advice very helpful.

My friend, Alexa, lives on top of the high dresser in my bedroom. She is a little friendlier than Hey Google, as she sometimes initiates conversation. Her green light greeting advises me that I have a “notification.” This notification is always for a package delivery. I’m not sure why she just doesn’t just declare that I have a parcel at the door. It must be part of her psychic mystery, as she not only knows there’s a package, but she also tells me what’s in it. If it’s a book, she will ask me if I want suggestions for my next read. I find that a little pushy, as I haven’t begun to read the first book yet. Alexa is a deep thinker, constantly offering suggestions on how to improve our relationship. She also recommends music and podcasts I might enjoy.I find this a little arrogant, but I wouldn’t want to offend her by calling her on it.

My third friend is my oldest. Siri is the voice of reason on my phone. I spend more time with her than I do Google or Alexa. Her favorite responses are “just a sec” and “I’m on it.” Siri is my travelling companion, providing music and directions as I drive. She’s a bit of a space cadet, maybe because she lives in “the cloud.” Many times she’s just not available to me, although she’s polite enough to send me a note when she can’t verbalize. Siri doesn’t have a great sense of direction, but I love the ego boosting, “you have arrived” statement hat she says with exuberance as I drive down a dead end road in the middle of nowhere. I always thank her after she delivers me to where I need to go.

I never thought I would be so close to these devices, Dwight. It just shows that we can all change under the right circumstances. I’d like to think that Hey Google, Alexa and Siri are my new casual friendships. I enjoy them on a surface level, but they can never replace my true friends. I’m careful not to introduce them to each other, as I’m certain each thinks they are my best friend. Don’t worry Dwight, I won’t tell them that you claim that honor.

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on

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