By Monte Lazarus
A friend of mine recently appeared clutching the latest technological marvel – the iPhone 4s that talks to you. He proudly demonstrated this newest wonder. “What is the weather forecast for today?” he queried. Virtually instantly the miniature lady we remember from our GPS days responded, “Turn left at Bald Eagle and go two miles to Old Marco”. It was brilliant! Imagine converting a tiny little person into an even tinier little person while retaining speech capability… not to mention the superior mental capacity. I gasped at the genius of this Thing, especially since I still have trouble handling my no-camera-included flip phone – a genuine collector’s item. But, technology marches on.
The next iterations of this marvel will be in somewhat different formats, according to nationality and culture. Each version will be tailored carefully to a particular country or area.
The British version will be male and very friendly. When asked about the weather he will cheerfully answer, “Good to hear you again old chap (or chapess for a female inquirer). Today will be a balmy 7 degrees Celsius, with intermittent showers. Be sure to take your brolly when you venture forth. Cheers.”
In France a soft, sexy female will answer, “Bonjour, mon chere, I ‘ave missed you so much, mais we can deal wiz zat later ce soir. Tonight will be tres bon for a bit of romance, avec temperature of 12 Celsius, although body temperatures will be much warmer ma cherie. Bon soir.”
Our German version will feature a guttural male. “Achtung, dumbkopf! Today it is a healthy 2 degrees Celsius. You vill enjoy das fine day. Auf wiedersein.”
The jolly Irishman is as nice as can be. “ ‘Tis a fine soft day, Thank God. The rain will continue to green up our beautiful Isle. Never mind the temperature me boy (or girl). We’ll be indoors at the pub and can enjoy a lovely pint later. Slante.”
A new addition will be for those Down Under. Our Aussie pal will say. “G’day mate (applied equally to male and female). The Jolly Swagman reports that it’s about 15 degrees; I don’t care if it’s Celsius or Fahrenheit; I just want to have fun. See you at the Billabong in a while cobber.”
In Italy a delightful male will croon, “Ciao, amico (or amica). Come va? Eet eez so nice-a to hear from you. How eez Papa and Mama. Today we cook da pasta at 125 degrees Celsius. Oh, da outside weather is verrry nice. Arriverdaci.”
A softly spoken Japanese lady will whisper (turn up the volume), “Ah, so nice to hear you [fill in last name] san. We enjoy your voice and are so happy you buy [fill in name of manufacturer]. Today we are happy to have cherry brossoms, and you should have many joys in sunshine even though it is raining.”
Of course there’s a Russian with a deep baritone voice. He answers, “Hello Tovarich. We have enough vodka to handle any kind of miserable weather sent from the West. Comrade Putin tells us not to worry. Just go to the State owned liquor store and tell them the forecast is for snow, ice, below freezing temperatures in any scale, and Comrade Putin, Our Leader For Life, strongly suggests we buy three cases of vodka – enough to last a full week. Nozdirovya!
Of course, there’s an edition especially tailored for New York. “Are you talkin’ to me? Are you talkin’ to me? Fagettaboutitt! Who wants to know? Do I know you? Awright, since you been bodderin’ me it’s cold out dere. Beat it.”
Of course, most of us don’t like stereotypes. I confidently predict the generic version will be the best seller. However, be sure to make it clear whether you are asking for directions or the weather forecast.