Phoebe's Diary
December 31, 2014

Phoebe began her diary 10 years ago. Now 24 and still living at home, she works for a communications network to fund her travels with her best friend, Naïma. Phoebe has a contraceptive implant that protects against osteoporosis. (The CVC programme, which simulates pregnancy in all girls at 16, has nearly eradicated cervical cancer.) Her mother, Anna, now 45, has a new boyfriend, Justin, an antiques dealer. Her father, Max, is on a year's paternity leave from his psychotherapy practice; his girlfriend, Zara, recently gave birth by elective caesarean section. While being treated for severe behavioural problems, her brother, Tacitus, 13, is discovered to have an IQ of 170; he attends a private boarding school in Wales.

New Year commitments...

  • Get a man.... Q is, where? All either bonkers or raving separatists (or both).
  • Must find direction. Strong calling to tend to desperate needs of urban underclass battles daily with urge to travel the world and have some fun.
  • Organise 2015 travel itinerary. Naïma fancies kicking off with African adventure in order to discover roots, please Muslim father etc, etc. Speaking for self, quite like week of sensory overindulgence at nice, environmentally regulated Europarc (Naïma would consider this unworthy and shallow).
  • Now we've got seasonally altered lighting to counter the effects of SAD, must try to spring out of bed without five wake-up calls.
  • Be civil to the ghastly Zara; she has stayed with Dad through multiple breakdowns and, inexplicably, produced divine baby.
  • Stop torturing self with unreasonable and unattainable goals.

  • Hardly know which is worse, Zara producing such lovely baby, over which all must endlessly fuss, or self so unutterably on shelf, not even virtual man on horizon. Added to which, Zara keeps cooing "And when are you going to present Annie with a grandchild?" which sends Mum incandescent with rage. Z knows nobody in their right mind has children before 35. After Tass's probs this baby was conceived au naturel, as you do when you live outside Reading, with not an enhanced gene to call its own. Z drew the line at giving birth naturally, but who can blame her, with so many fab drugs available?

    Have fixed summit meeting with Naïma, who is now so terrifyingly gorgeous and sussed and confident, only adds to feelings of personal inadequacy. She has just finished her sabbatical researching a lost biblical tribe. So she's gorgeous and dedicated to saving the planet - and still I call her my friend. For redemption called on Alice who, drunk on cranberry gin from brother's home distillery, restored faith in self by revealing vast household expenditure; her aunt, suffering from nervous exhaustion brought on by excessive retail choice, went Awol and was found wandering round Marks & Spencer Mega Foodcity muttering: "Which flavour strawberry yoghurt?" over and over.

    Al then showed off new insta-dry underwear (available in 36 styles and colours) - truly the invention of the century. In tearing hurry having failed to respond to fifth wake-up call, bung knickers in soapy water, squeeze them out and off you go. It's a mystery to me how we've survived so long without them.

    Feeling v unmotivated at the moment. Don't like working for faceless global corp that communicates solely through e-mail. Fantasise that key worker David Strong is actually cyberman who doesn't exist outside virtual reality. Find him humourless and demoralising. Want to write: "David, how did you get this depressed?" But prevent self, due to desperate need for money.

    Work disrupted due to terrible problems with the workpods. Water coming in everywhere, cabling all perished and mother having five sets of kittens over damage to computers resulting in all files back to 2005 corrupting.

    The pods were so cheap - when the govt was on the Work From Home push they were practically giving them away - so was to be expected. There's something v naff about them; Mum is fond of saying they're the 21st-century equivalent of the smoked-glass hi-fi cabinet (whatever that is), which makes all friends over 50 fall about laughing.

    Mother now heavily into anti-ageing implants: bottom (why jab them in bottom?) now resembles Tass's face, as sadly no implant to control acne yet.

    M's new boyfriend, Justin, is just on the creepy side of okay, unlike Imran, who danced to entirely different rumba. M sadly unaware that Imran running virtual porno channel in spare time (maternal bottom clearly identifiable for obvious reasons). After rocky and emotional few months M now significantly calmer, for which thank God, as filial well of sympathy all but dried up. Why does she get involved with such dimwits anyway? Can't be hormonal fluctuations as all is digitally controlled. House buzzing with health alarms; the whole neighbourhood knows when M's oestrogen is getting low.

    Big excitement yesterday as Justin pounced on pair of ancient Levi's as if locating Holy Grail and announced them his best find this year.
    M bought them in Jean Machine in 1975 and clearly remembers lying down to do up zip. No chance of that now, so Justin is going to exhibit them at online auction and they're going to make us rich - for a month or two.

    Last day of Tass's school hols; went to see old school friend Harry's postmodernist installation at the Tate; a 1960s light-fitting suspended in virtual reality. He's really excited about this whole new art medium. Tass said: "Well, it didn't turn me on. Ha ha." Not entirely sure I understood it myself, so stared for long time at pretty filament bit and remained aloof.

    Afterwards spent nice evening at home watching old movies, feeling like Perfect Urban Family. Titanic brought tears to eyes. Hardly recognised Leonardo DiCaprio; now I know why he went into directing. Despite multibillion fortune, time and gravity have been most unkind.

    Caroline Scott

    Next week: "Feeling strong, so what's wrong?"

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