By Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter
At work we have this annoying helpful overgrown storage box we call the Pyxis. Pyxis is an automated medication dispensing system designed to ensure safe and effective medication administration. But a little look into her history and we learn that:
Pyxis (Greek: box) is a small and faint constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for a mariner’s compass — a compass that was no doubt rigged by a fiendish goddess in order that she could perpetually nag her mortal seafaring husband clear out of his nautical mind. Somewhat like a celestial back-seat driver.
“Are you sure that’s the actual North Star?”
“Check the riggings, did you?”
“I thought you were heading magnetic north, dear?”
How do I know Pyxis is a female? Please. I know she’s a girl because of her voice is distinctly female.
And she nags — er, I mean, reminds.
For instance, if I open a door and close it, she’ll inquire, “Did you forget to press a button?” Sometimes I talk back, “No, I changed my mind, it’s my prerogative.”
If I don’t quite latch the door she’ll remind me in her slightly superior, computerized tone. And when I have successfully pressed all the buttons and closed all the doors and not kicked her like a poorly behaved vending machine she croons, “Thank you,” much in the way a youngster dutifully recites thank you upon receiving a white pair of holiday underwear from Sears.
“Yeah, honey, you’re welcome.”
Some days I wish she were a he.
Some smooth, Sean Connery-looking European dreamboat, or perhaps a nice deep, rich-sounding Morgan Freeman type.
“Sure baby, I’ll push a button.”
Then again, Ms. Pyxis might have untapped applications on the home front. Imagine, women everywhere could be saved from countless hours of verbal drudgery. She could be programmed with a wide variety of useful responses:
“Did you forget your lunch?”
“Did you forget to put the lid down?”
“What, were you born in a barn? Close the door.”
The list is delightfully endless.
And when the dishwasher is unloaded, the trash emptied and the dog fed, she could … .
Hmm, I’m stuck.
I can’t imagine the computer voice replacing a warm, I-made-you-a-sandwich, I-think-you-are-awesome, come-here-and-give-me-a-kiss, don’t-forget-to-take-your-shoes-off (sweetheart) kind of authentic female voice.
For now I’m savoring a few low-tech days off, hanging with the family, fishing, hiking and harvesting the garden.
But there’s a small, slightly annoying voice in my head that nags me during a heroic battle at Best Buy with some guy named Raj at Microsoft. I’ve been volleyed to yet another department and I still must face a few more grueling rounds of automated-voice-assistance purgatory.
“To be transferred, press 1. For someone who tries very hard to speak English, press 3. We are sorry, but 2, 6 and 9 are out of order. Press 5 if you would like to get on our email list… . *** Will you please hold, all of our service representatives are currently assisting other customers. For faster service, please visit us online … .”
“Arrgh! If I could fix it myself, I wouldn’t be calling!”
Where is that swanky, Mr. Pyxis voice when I need it?
Grounds for divorce No. 7,448: Accusing wife of nagging.
Grounds for divorce No. 7,449: Not putting the lid down, therefore teaching wife to perpetually remind, therefore placing her in the unfortunate position of sounding like she is nagging, when in fact she is simply reminding, over and over and over again.
Grounds for staying married: Fishing. Hiking. Gardening. Hanging with the family. Together.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer who lives (and loves) in Soldotna.