Toby Joe has been automating our home lately. There’s probably a better term for this, but I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I just live with a guy who does weird shit all of the time. Most of the time it makes me giggle. Sometimes, I am so confused by it I simply shrug my shoulders and nod. But I always play along because usually he’s working on something much bigger than what he’s showing me. These little things he does are often dress rehearsals for a more lucrative production down the line.
I think all this house automation stuff began when I jokingly asked for a “Kill Switch”. You see, with three boys and a big basement full of beanbags, we have to ask them 57 times to turn off Minecraft or MarioKart and come up for dinner, or whatever basic human necessity we need them to tend to. So Toby got to work and gave me a Kill Switch. We are now able to turn the TV off from anywhere in the house. We can also lock the doors using our phone; tell Alexa to lock our doors. We can ask Alexa to change the colors and luminosity of our hallway lights. Our bedside lights turn on when they detect motion during the day (which is nice when you don’t have overhead lighting in a 100 year old house). Yes, sometimes it’s a little Black Mirror-ish, but it’s also quite useful.
And then sometimes it’s just hilariously weird.
Yesterday morning, as we sat around sipping our coffee, Toby nonchalantly says to me, “Oh, by the way, I programmed our bedside reading lamps to flicker every time Donald Trump tweets in the middle of the night.”
“Oh? Well, that’s weird.” I tell him. “Wait, did you really do that? Or are you joking about doing that? Is this just an idea you had?”
“No. Not just an idea. It’s already done.”
“Cool. That could be quite funny, actually. It’s also pretty fucked up that we’re going to have president who does such a thing.”
At about 10 PM last night, I start drifting off to sleep. It’s dark in our room. The motion sensor has long shut down for the night, so I’m understandably confused when my light flickers. And for a split second, I wonder if maybe I’m having one of those weird brain zaps; you know the ones that jolt the shit out of you, wake you up, leave your heart racing. When I was a kid I used to think those brain zaps were ghosts slapping the living daylights out of me. (Or into me. I never got to ask them which.)
But then the light flickered again. Not a brain zap. Or a pissed off ghost.
I grab my phone from the bedside table and search for Trump’s twitter account. Sure enough, two tweets back-to-back about how awesome it is that he has officially become our next president.
How did we get here again?
I’ll be honest, I think I would have rather been slapped by a ghost.