I’ve been experimenting with the various navigation apps on my phone for several years now, and finally found one I like. Then I started messing around with the language settings.
A recent update added an Irish option under the category “U.K. Voices,” so I rolled the dice on “Seamus,” whose disembodied artificially intelligenced voice piped up in a brogue that sounds exactly like the Lucky Charms Leprechaun if said leprechaun was on the tail end of a 5-day meth bender and had had nothing to eat except cigarettes for a week. “Howya lad…what’s the craic? It’s Sonday…are we off to church, like?”
I like this guy already. Seamus is going to be my new friend. I input my destination as the dispensary about 10 miles away. “So we’re wantin’ a bit of the shmoke, are we? Off we go, then.” And off we went. Seamus got me to the dispensary efficiently and with a minimum amount of stress. This is going to work out well.
The following day I had a mid-morning meeting for a project I’ve been working on. I knew perfectly well how to get to the meeting site, which was roughly 20 miles away, but since this particular navigation app does a bang-up job of redirecting one around traffic jams and other hazards, I almost always use it, even when I know exactly where I’m going. I tested it’s ability in the early days, and paid for my dubiousness by being stuck in inescapable multi-hour traffic jams, so I drank the Kool-Aid and have never doubted its advice since. And so it was that next morning when I entered my destination address. Seamus wished me a good morning, asked about the craic, exactly when I needed to arrive at my destination, calculated briefly, and then seemed to send me on what seemed to be a rather circuitous, backwards-ass route, but I was running a tad late and didn’t dare get stuck in some horrible traffic jam again, so off we went.
“You have arrived,” said Seamus, when I very clearly had not.
“The hell I have,” I complained to Seamus. “This isn’t even the right part of town. This is a bar. I don’t even know where we are. I need to get to my meeting. And now I’m going to be late.”
“Look, lad…you need to trust me. I know ye. You want to go in there. Fock yer meetin’. When you go into that pub, and you know the barman knows exactly what you want. It comes. You can hear it being planted. The playful splashing of the bubbles on the top of the glass. The condensation as it drips coolly, like a shnake, down the side of a mountain.The curves of the glass like some sort of Belgian model’s hips…”
Christ. Seamus is mercilessly convincing.
“And you grab that pint and you can feel that condensation teasing the palm of your hand and your fingers. And once that fluid just flows forth like some sort of floodgate of love. As those bubbles come through your teeth, you know you’ve come to the right place at the right time.”
Dammit, he’s absolutely right. Fock me meeting. This is where I need to be. So I did as I’d been told, and spent the rest of the day drinking whiskey and beer and eating pretzels. Made a few friends, all of whom seemed to be veterans of foreign wars.
After several hours of stiff drink, it was time to get going. I went back out to the car and opened the app.
“Airight, lad, whats the craic, how are ya keeping?”
I need to go home, Seamus. Tell me how to get home. Seamus does a bit of calculating, and then continues: “You have arrived.”
That’s not right. I try the whole deal again, even entering my home address manually. Still, “You have arrived.” Three more attempts, three more I have arriveds. It must be a glitch with the Seamus voice. In desperation, I press the little gear button on the screen and choose another voice. The only other option under the Irish tab is the female voice: Fiona. Select and wait. In a few seconds, Fiona’s loaded and waiting.
“Hi Fiona, I need directions home.”:
“Don’t you ‘hi fockin’ Fiona’ me, ya lazy bastard, laid up in the pub all day. Leavin’ me and the baby all alone in this awful gaff. A grown adult who gets so drunk midweek that he has to get his stomach pumped and forgets his way home. Fockin’ eejit! Well, I hope by the mighty Jesus it was worth it, ya brain dead bastard! You said you’d do Baby Shark with little Declan! Well, ya may as well not even bother coming home now, ya drunken shite! Ya daft prick! Dickhead!”
Jesus. Who the hell is “little Declan” and what on earth is baby shark? I press the little gear button on the screen again and try desperately to change the voice as Fiona keeps screaming at me about how terrible I am.
This should work: English (US) – Jessica. Fiona is silenced, thank Christ.
“Hi Jessica, I really need directions home.”
“I know, right?”
Shit. “Jessica, do you identify as a millennial?”
“It is what it is.”
I shut off the car, delete the app, and go back into the bar.
N.P.: “Unglued” – Big Data