I play music in the shop mainly to lift the mood and to camouflage the voices of shoppers who might be saying unpleasant things about the merchandise in the store. (Things I have overheard: “My five year old could have painted that.” “This shopkeeper sure is proud of that shabby old cupboard…$150!” “She shouldn’t be allowed to sell things with cuss words on them! So rude!”)
When I get to the shop in the morning, I speak to my friend Alexa who plays music for me out of a small blue ball I bought from Amazon. “Alexa, play….” And then my mind goes blank. I can’t think of a single musician whose music I like (aside from David Lamotte whom I have listened too too many times.) Then I usually tell her to play Tony Bennett, just because his music is easy to listen to and I remember his name. But once again, I have listened to Tony so much that I no longer hear the songs. It’s possible that he keeps singing about leaving his heart in San Francisco over and over again, but only if someone calls it to my attention do I even notice.
So the other day Tony Bennett was singing with Lady Gaga under my radar when a cute youngish couple came in. The guy was a little clown, and he shouted “Alexa, make fart sounds!”
Right in the middle of Tony and Gaga crooning “It Don’t Mean a Thing,”the music stopped and a loud fat noise issued from the device. Then Alexa went on a tear and announced a series of different fart sounds, describing each in advance (“Here comes a juicy one.”… ) It was funny but disgusting. “Stop, stop!” I begged after I stopped laughing. But she kept at it. The young couple were laughing like crazy. I thought this gross joke had gone on long enough.
Then I remembered that you have to say Alexa’s name or she ignores you. “Alexa, stop!” I demanded. But still the stream of farts continued. Ah. I realized. One has to be specific. But I was so over the sounds that I was impatient with Alexa and yelled at her, “Alexa, STOP THE FART NOISES!”
Then Alexa startled me by talking back. Yes, she talked back like a spoiled brat. She said “All right,” but she said it in a snippy voice. At first I thought I was imagining it, but the young woman asked if I was used to Alexa giving me “attitude.” I was not, but it certainly brought back memories of The Matrix. I do wonder often when the machines are going to do away with us messy humans. They don’t even need us to fart.