I always say “please” and “thank you, Miss” when talking to Siri so that when the machines take over, she won’t kill me. “Spare the puny one. He was always polite.”
You have to be cunning to make the best of life these days.
Another ingenious life-hack. My wife bought an avocado last week; I carried it around for a week so that I could eat it in the 10-minute period between “not ripe yet” and “horribly rotten”. That was the plan, anyway, and one day it will work.
But perhaps the biggest mass outbreak of cunning this year so far has been in India. Like everywhere else, hotels and other food and drink venues are conveniently located near major highways there, but Indian judges passed a law making it illegal for any alcohol-selling venue to be within 500 metres (in some places, 220 metres) of a highway.
Since it’s tricky to pick up a hotel and move it, residents responded with a mass outbreak of ingenuity.
One bar-owner built a long, winding maze in front of his roadside bar, so it became quite literally a long walk from the street.
Some hoteliers attached signs to their back gates saying: “This is Now The Front Gate”.
Other restaurateurs got friends in government departments to “demote” hundreds of kilometres of major highways, relisting them as humble “regular” roads, and thus exempt.
Of course, ingenuity can also be used in the name of evil, I hear from my friends at Shanghaiist, a news website. Chinese companies are selling portable engines on long poles designed to thump walls and ceilings purely for the purpose of annoying neighbours. One particularly irritating man turned on such a machine, called an Apartment Shaker, and then went away for the weekend. Of course, many of us already have free-of-charge apartment-shaking devices in our homes, but we call them “children”.
A British correspondent sent me an example of evil ingenuity from the UK. A thief stole a car. Instead of making a fake number plate, he found a car of the same make, age and colour, and copied its number plate. Thus any police officer who ran a computerised check would find that everything seemed to be in order.
The only chance of exposure would be if both cars just happened to be parked in the same car park at the same time, and what were the chances of that in a country with a population of 60 million? The answer turned out to be not zero. A woman in the town of Coleshill phoned police to say that she was in a shop’s parking lot and noticed a car exactly like hers, same brand, same colour, same licence number. Gotcha.
Room for one last life-hack. As you turn off the oven to go out, tell the oven what you are doing in a Mickey Mouse voice. It’s such a weird thing to do that there’s no way you’ll later forget that you turned it off.
Yes, people will think you are crazy, but who cares? Siri is still nice to me, and that’s the relationship that counts in the long term, right?