COVID’s silver lining – family relationship never stronger

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It was week two of the COVID-19 lockdown and my family had followed all the rules and decided to go further and wear face masks at home.

My father gathered the family together and with a slowness and solemness that seemed a bit unnecessary, explained the new rules and the importance of remaining solid as a family.

We looked at each other from across the kitchen table, nodded, put on our face masks for the new life, and I returned my focus to the laptop screen.

As per usual my parents went about various domestic duties and I returned to my game/ homework. The conversation followed the fashion of all previous days.

My parents would ask me about my day and I would respond in my minimalist manner and my parents would sigh at each other at the brevity of each response.

It was all typically annoying, but the new house rules twigged an idea.

I began making voice recordings of their questions over the next week.

Our communications continued as normal and all through face masks.

The only major difference was the new rules meant there was no need for face to face interaction.

I used all the voice recordings on my new phone to make detailed responses to all the questions and in a fashion that met their expectations and more.

I was able to use a new app that would use my voice in the Siri responses, integrate the information into a reply that was completely tailored to the question asked, and further refined to my parents’ expectations.

I spent the necessary time pre-recording my answers to any expected question and Siri would integrate with added information using my voice.

It worked a charm.

When my mother asked me ‘What did you get up to today?’, my phone would recognise her voice and then use my voice for an answer that would take her through the very detail of my day.

Siri would integrate information about current weather and any piece of current affairs that lined up with her interests.

I could even include a slight change to the menu at the local cafe or an item on sale at Woolworths that matched her interests.

When my father asked me ‘What did you get up to today?’, my phone would respond accordingly, focus on the school subjects he thought I needed to apply myself more to and then Siri would use my voice to touch on the issues close to his heart, such as the current form and injuries of his beloved Sydney Swans.

He was very impressed with my detailed knowledge of the specials at Bunnings.

My nods at my achievements on the latest game on my laptop matched the virtual conversation.

My parents were very excited about the change in family communications and rewarded me with an increase in my allowance which, of course, I used my newfound wealth to purchase technology that would create a hologram of myself for all future family conversations.

Email, 13 Aug
John Longhurst