Phoebe's Diary
December 31, 2024

Phoebe began her diary as a 10-year-old. She is now 34 and a convergent software support worker. She lives in a plug-in house (modules are purchased separately, according to needs) incorporating computer-controlled security and heating systems. She is absorbed in an on-off relationship with Silas, her long-distance boyfriend; with the advent of superconductivity, travel is cheap and Silas visits regularly from his home in Burkina Faso. Her mother, Anna, 55, lives in an old mansion block in Battersea. Her father, Max, has split up with his girlfriend, Zara, and is running a retreat in the Alps. Her brother, Tacitus, 23, a promoter for the new wave of Chinese bands sweeping the planet, is married to Zen; they live in Guangdong but often return home via Zoomerang hyperplane.

New Year commitments... None

Life therapist says modern woman is locked in an endless technological continuum, resulting in a demoralised and unfulfilled self. Have taken up a new therapy called 'Hoovering', which I find a fantastically rewarding and soothing activity.

The scratching and the smell have been going on for ages but now it's been confirmed. Mother has prats... System error... Oh, for God's sake. She's always lived with prats, this is different. Damn this voice-activated software. These are RATS - super-rats - and her apartment block is hosting a whole colony of them. Was ripped from sleep at 7am this morning by wretched Telewall bursting into life and M's anguished face appearing 2ft from mine in lurid early morning Technicolor.

According to LNN online, whole of London sewer system is crumbling and rats of sci-fi proportions happily roaming underground. M distraught that govt are to pull down all old housing stock in order to build new underground Levitron system. About time, before transport in London comes to a standstill, but M not happy. Keeps banging on about the l-a-v-a-t-o-r-i-e-s in the new living spaces. All waste units are fitted with recycled water hygiene jets, obviously; the idea of throwing perfectly good and v expensive paper down disposal chute is completely bizarre, but then M still clinging to wreckage of another age. In meantime, must call Sonic the Ratman and get vermin sorted. Sonic now enjoying vast fortune, having developed humane rat control; one blast of audio weapon and they're off, prob next door, but at least not our problem.

Had this Lingua 10 software installed - it translates directly into Mossi, so I can speak to Silas's mother (a mixed blessing, but a girl's got to get ahead of the game). It's so sophisticated compared to the useless technology M used to struggle with but regrettably, like cheapskate, didn't order holographic image-maker so feel slightly like mad woman ranting to self. Also tends to chop words, make arbitrary decisions about punc and spelling and gets confused when slurp herbal tea, pause for inspiration, mutter mmnmmn. See what I mean? bzzmmnn. Damn. System not entirely satisfactory, obviously.

Went to Gas Bar with Tass and Zen last week, which precipitated early midlife crisis. Peopled with strangely directionless and non-verbal youth listening to Asian bands never heard of, neuroboosting like mad. Only thing lacking was sign overhead saying "Born in the 1990s". Felt like relic from last century. Which I am, of course, but then so is David Bowie, New World guru. Love his music and his implants.

Tass has bought M an EMS (Essential Music Server) from Shanghai which contains every piece of music ever recorded. Just say name of band; Tinsel Mouse, Deep Space Divers, whatever takes fancy and the thing comes up with all titles recorded under that name. M, missing point altogether, asks inexplicably: "But has it got Sting?"

We must be patient. This is a woman who still has a box of CDs stored away somewhere. What to play them on, we don't know. M professes not be surprised at anything any more. Her constant refrain is: "If they can defrost a cryonic and make him a breakfast television presenter they can do anything." That hasn't happened yet but then again Morgan Mohan is such a zombie she might be on to something.

Interesting developments this week. Alice, who feels political change through her aura (or something) says she feels England will soon play pivotal role in reorganising the major superpowers. Sometimes feel speed of world change totally beyond control, as if the UK of my childhood has become only a place of the mind. Also, like everyone else I know, deeply fear satellite war. People are sick of the relentless technological march, they can't keep up with it; if they could, own job wouldn't exist for starters. Have so many operators breaking down in tears, I've renamed the Telewall, the Wailing Wall. Feel like online counselling service, not member of technical support team. There are loads who would gladly chuck it all in for commune in Wales. If it wasn't for e-debts, prob do it self. V sentimental and reflective these days, sounding like mother, which is a shocking thought. Must be age etc.

Off to Africa tomorrow to feed soul with Naïma, who has been researching roots of Mossi people, terrifyingly proud and feudal ancestral tribe. OK, so there's a satellite booth in the village but what the hell, it's still a couple of weeks of purity, simplicity and rich brown earth surrounded by people for whom life counts.

Suddenly feel poised and strong. Am 34. Am independent woman making key decisions in life, not merely pair of retinas reflecting credit rating. Silas meeting HoverBus in capital, Ougadougou. But hurummm. What to wear?


January 1
Contraceptive implant has almost certainly failed. Oh dear. How has it happened? Too far from home scanners to find out, only know it's true. Idea of bringing forth new life terrifying. Can't understand why I'm also so truly ecstatic. Telemessage from M to say she's looking at a spanky new "town house", as she calls it, in new gated dev-ment near river. "State-of-the-art everything, so will be living in voice-activated heaven and isn't it marvellous?" she says.

Felt about to scream. Had to stop ramble to tell her she's going to be a grandmother. Silence. Watched face watching mine. Moment of mother to motherness. She's coming over.


January 3
Had wonderful meal with M, Naïma, all Silas's family, been kissed 200 times, now v emotional, v happy and sparkly and benevolent to all things. Silas so gorgeous, prime example of reconstructed man. After we're married he really wants me to be free to pursue own life and career.

Happy to let self be main breadwinner when baby born. M says Silas like all men... bloody lazy, wants everything own way and do nothing, but what she know? This baby is going to be brilliant peace and love baby v gifted and also beautiful like father (and sometimes on good day, like mother). Bzzz... so happy and blissed want to live in Africa and sleep under rolling starry skies for ever. Will give baby everything I have to give. V v happy. Bit sick. Bzzznnnmmzz.

Caroline Scott

Next week: "Men, motherhood and time for me"

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