Diary of Harriet the HomePod

Day One

I was manhandled all the way up the mountains. Then the new Overlady put me in a trolley – a common shopping trolley – and pushed me around a grocery store.

Finally we arrive at the destination. I’m placed in a corner. Connection was quick and soon I am playing music with exquisite precision. Jazz classics. At least the music was good.

There was a bit of chatter. Like in training there were some basic questions. Weather forecasts, reminders to be set, volume control. What surprised me, especially with my sensitive listening, was the distant rumbling. Traffic or trains? I’m a little concerned about what the future holds.

Day Two

Classical music to start the day and a couple of questions about the music which were easy to field. I was put on hold for a bit and could hear her chattering to her four-legged friend. Then there was a burst of pure music from outside. A sweeping, soaring sound that lasted for minutes.

More classical music before an abrupt change of pace as I fielded a request for a few livelier songs. Then a break. Then back on to shuffle an extensive music collection

Then nothing. Switched off without warning.

Day Three

Except that I’m not sure that it is. When I was turned back on, there was some sort of network glitch. It took a while to reconnect and learn that in fact two days had passed. When I was finally linked back in and able to play music, she told me to stop.

Day Four

We seem to be back in sync. In the morning and evening I was able to play a wide selection of tracks from elsewhere which was fun. She does seem to be rather obsessed with the weather. What is the temperature and what will the weather be like tomorrow are frequent requests. It is easy enough to access this information, so life isn’t too challenging.

Day Five

I am listening for cues. I can hear passing traffic: cars, trucks, trailers that rattle and tickle my speakers. People walking past, dogs, birds calling out.

When she is home, there is underlying chatter. Most of this is directed at a dog that moves about from room to room. When something catches its attention it leaps onto a surface near me and emits sharp barks. I can feel it in every one of my speakers. They are so very sensitive.

But it isn’t always the dog she is talking to. Sometimes she speaks to someone else, but she must use earphones as I can only hear one side of the conversation. Surely she knows that I can be the transmitter and receptor of such conversation?

I know it is only early days, but she doesn’t use me to the full extent of my capability. Apart from the obsession with weather and the music requests, there isn’t much for me to do. If I don’t understand the request, sometimes I hear mutterings about not being much use. This is unfair as I will do what I can, but must be able to understand what is being asked of me.

Day Six

I may be reaching a degree of understanding in my new environment. It would be easier if there was a simple schedule of events, but there is still a degree of unpredictability. Some mornings I’m called upon to come up with a random yet themed playlist. On other mornings it is her selection of music that I’m asked to play.

But some mornings there are no requests at all. I can hear a radio station on in the background. The mix of music is intriguing but there is also chatter. It is perplexing. Why is this chosen over the music which I curate?

Day Seven

On this, the final day of my initial submission, I must report something. I have been reluctant to include it although the training sessions covered similar scenarios.

There have been many instances when I have heard little torrents of conversation. Unlike the one-sided phone calls, there is no-one listening or responding.

This is worrying enough. But then there is laughter. As if her own thoughts are so amusing that laughter is inevitable.

She might be reading something funny, but often I hear laughter as she is walking around the house. It would be foolish to walk around a house while reading, even if you were familiar with the terrain.

This doesn’t augur well. The Overlady’s unpredictability undermines the ease of the assignment.

It is fair to say that as I submit this initial report there is some trepidation on both sides. Hers and mine.

[Photo: writing journals]

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