You know those electronic contraptions some have at home which you talk to and they listen and respond to your requests? There are many models available. Usually with female names and voices. You say "what's the weather like?" and they respond whether it will be hot or cold or whatever. You can also ask them to play various music. They learn to recognise your voice and respond to it.
Well ... some lunatic friends have gifted us one.
I use the word lunatic advisedly on two counts.
First, I think gifts to people should not be too personal. I mean, did they know whether we already have such a device? (We don't). Did they know how we feel or think about such equipment, or whether we even have the intellect and University education to operate them. I still prise the bread out of the toaster with a knife despite being told not to. The automatic pop up thing does not always work. I hate electronic gadgets that decide when to work or not.
They are also lunatic on a second count. They bought this listening and talking device whilst on holiday in France. It looks like an old style telephone. Très à la mode; as they say in la belle France. Very chic. It blends with the rest of the environment and does not look too modern a contraption. Ours is an old Victorian house and I'll admit the device looks attractive compared to the more modern looking equivalent. But why couldn't these lunatics have bought us a more traditional holiday present? Like a leaning Eiffel Tower or other touristy thing which I could hide in the garage with a guiltless conscience.
Instead, we have one of those talking things in the house in the corner of the room on and old piece of furniture.
What I did not realise is that Giselle, that's the thing's name, speaks with a French accent. The other day I asked her to order a KFC to be delivered to our home and she said, "What eez zee K ... F ... C ... Je ne comprends pas!"
I was surprised and said, "Kentucky Fried Chicken!"
She replied, "Ken tock eee ... eet eez American State wizz Ohio River in zee North and Appal Asian Montagnes in Zee East. Zee capital eez ..."
"Stop!" I said, "I meant place an order with the local KFC to deliver ... oh never mind!"
And I picked up the phone, a real one not a French old style imitation, and did the job myself.
Giselle seems to have a mind of her own. It's as if she understands what I'm saying or doing. The other day she complained, "Eet eez veree cold in ere! Not az warmer as in France."
I ordered for a pizza to be delivered, she must have overheard me and she said, "all zee time you 'ave zee pizza. Try some thing else ... Why not 'ave something noo tree cious like vegetable soup?"
I was watching a football game on TV, she heard the soundtrack of the game, and even though I was not talking to hear, she commented, "all zee time eet eez zee football ... zere are jobs to be done ... like zee taking of the trash bin out!"
It's like having another wife in the house! Only this one looks like an old phone.
The final straw came last night. Someone had moved Giselle on the corner table upstairs in the corridor. They were listening to some music and left the contraption there.
I was alone at home. I got out the shower to go and answer the phone, the real one, also on the same corner table.
Giselle said, "Oooh la la ... quel physique you 'ave Monsieur Victor ..."
It was Aunt Elma from Scotland on the phone, the real one. The real phone, I mean. She said, "I heard a French woman ... are you with a French woman? What did she mean ... quail physique? What's going on with you and her? Oh the shame of it ... how could you?"
She called her husband, "Jim ... Jim ... come here quick Jim. Vic has got some French hooor with him. And in his own home too. Come here Jim ... talk some sense into him ... the shame of it all! She's French ... I heard her talking to him."
I did not know those machines can see as well as hear. Did you?