Sunday 26th April
Diary Entry – 20660106
“It is almost five in the morning, only time I could be certain she definitely would be asleep. My dear and darling precious wife, who would never in a million years begin to understand why I am doing this. And there was a time I could tell her everything, when we had no secrets at all. Now I am terrified of her finding out, she would never begin to understand. We seem to have grown so far apart, I constantly wonder why. Do people really change so much, or is it just the life going on around us that changes? Can we ever un-learn all our years of experience, is it possible to regain that excitement, that optimism before life kicked the shit out of it? But part of me knows we can never regain that simple trust we once had; it sometimes seems we are two trains travelling ever further away from each other. Tracks that once ran parallel to each other have diverged, I only catch a glimpse of her now and then, and my, she has changed. Time was when she was my only friend, the only person I felt could ever begin to understand me. All long gone now I am afraid. In many ways she is a total stranger to me now. Yet for routine’s sake we still cling on together, each pretending we are happy, each knowing it isn’t how it used to be. And never will be again. Or at least that how it is for me; what she is thinking I have no idea. And that is the how I know it has all changed; at one time I would always know what she was thinking.
So I have slipped guiltily out of bed, and as quiet as could be, made a decaf and crept into the spare room and got out my dear little box of archaeological treasure and am writing again. Not sure why I am doing this really, it isn’t as if it will ever change anything. Maybe I just have an exaggerated sense of my own importance. But as that old quiz thing used to say – “I’ve started so I’ll finish” – I feel I have to carry on. Until?
Until I am caught, or I just decide to stop maybe. But I feel I have so much to say, so much to record, so much to save. Because I get the feeling that future generations will have no real idea of what life was like now. The Official version is always untrustworthy. Propaganda is rife, truth is a fleeting butterfly that may well be pinned down on some screen somewhere; but does that sterile preserved specimen give you any real idea of what it was like to spread her wings in the morning sun, and fly from flower to flower. Will anyone ever record the taste of nectar? And of course, butterflies are rarer than ever now the weather is so fucked up.
I can’t quite believe how fucking cold it is outside; and after all those scares of Global Warming in the first decades of the century. We can’t say we weren’t warned, but as usual we ignored the evidence, disputed and refuted it, laughing at the scientists and carried on in our stupidity. Until it hit us like a brick in the face that is. And we almost sorted it out, we nearly did it. Well came pretty close as far as most com-projections tell us. What with hydrogen fuel cells which took off suddenly in the twenty-twenties, and then a few years later the big switchover to micro power which only uses a twentieth of that old standard power to run everything we severely reduced the output of all those nasty greenhouse gases. Of course it was too late to stop the great thaw of Antartica and the rise in sea-levels, but we did manage to stabilise things by about 2045.
What no-one realised, what no computer programme predicted was that it was too late by then anyway. The Great Tipping Point had been reached, and the planet lurched into this new mode so quickly. They call it the Ambivalence, not because no one cares, but because no-one can be quite sure which way it is going to go next. Some scientists reckon we are racing to becoming a super hot planet like Venus where life will only be really viable around the poles. Others are just as sure we will lurch back into a new ice-age; they certainly have all this volcanic activity on their side of the argument, seems like one is popping its cork somewhere every month. They say that if a really big one blows it will blanket out the sun’s heat for a decade, and so plunge us back into the freezer in no time. Not the happiest of predictions.
Meanwhile we are stuck in these doldrums of Ambivalence, where as far as I understand it most of the ocean currents have slowed to almost half their old speed, a sluggishness that is affecting everything; it feels as if the planet has almost stopped spinning at all. The result here in Brit is that we are fucking freezing; the old Gulf Stream that brought all that wet and windy (and warm) weather blowing in from the Atlantic hardly affects us at all now, it has moved far to the South and is less than half the strength it used to be, so now we have a climate nearer to Canada than the California that the scientists had predicted.
Overall they say that Global temperatures are still rising but now it is definitely in zones, bands of wildly differing temperatures, but still overall higher than ever. They tell us that most of Africa is uninhabitable now, one big Sahara spreading south, with only a small fringe along the Med and south of Zimbabwe where most of the Africans have migrated to. All the factories and wealth the Chinese installed there fifty years ago are gone, and the bulk of the continent is being ravaged by vicious carnivorous insect life now, all eating each other and mating and living and dying in that searing heat. It seems they are the only creatures with a short enough life span to evolve fast enough to survive. Great tracts of South America and even the south of India and most of South East Asia are the same, just barren desert wastelands now, in place of the tropical paradises we used to know. Whereas here Europe is shivering, especially to the East, and the Med is more like Scotland used to be, with constant rain and snow every winter.
But you can never be sure of anything, can you? Do we believe the screencasts totally, or are we all being manipulated to believe this is what has happened? There is hardly any foreign travel now of course, they blame the Ambivalence and the volcanoes for that too, but maybe it’s convenient not to let us see for ourselves. The safe-resorts are all bubbled now, so you cannot even be sure what lies outside the skein you are enclosed in. Even the ride from the airport is in a plasticated tube, for all we know the desert outside could be a projection itself. The amazing thing is how almost everyone just accepts it all, believes without questioning, settling into the new world reality as if nothing had really changed at all. Or is it all too much for them to take in, much easier to tune in to yet another soapy-sope or plug themselves into syn and forget the outside world.
And now that America has regained its status as the only real superpower since the Chinese started slipping back a couple of decades ago; it has become the most populated place on the planet. It is practically one big city down the entire East Coast, while in the Mid-West the temperatures are just too extreme for anyone except agri-workers to survive. Greater LA is almost a country itself, the most powerful city within the most powerful state on earth. The trouble is everything now comes out of America; they control nearly all of the screencasts, the holo-vids and the news. How can we ever be sure where Disnews ends and Reality begins? But screencast lies or not there is no manufacturing this awful cold weather. It is here, outside my apartment block and it is really cold. I hate it.
So is that where we are? A planet fast running out of control with vast swathes of desert where people used to be, with almost everyone living in vast cities and keeping indoors in the bitter winter. Is that what mankind’s stupidity has reduced us to? At least the population has been culled somewhat; we had been in danger of drowning in our own numbers, starving ourselves to extinction as we used up all the land. But at last the penny seems to have dropped and we are now stabilising numbers and even beginning to reduce them, especially here in the West, though I suspect a lot of the numbers are guessed, I mean who is counting in China now?
And with all this temperature change we don’t grow anything like enough natural food to feed ourselves. The manna food industry is booming these days; apparently the proteins they grow are much more nutritious than the old natural foodstuffs used to be, and they can genetically stuff them full of vitamins and minerals, so people actually need to eat far less than their grandparents had to. Cathy and I are quite fortunate in that we are in a fairly high strata and can use some of our cred in ‘realfood’ stores, so we only eat a small amount of manna. Tastes okay to me, but it still lacks something, some irregularity, some unexpected flaws. It all tastes much the same; that is my only problem with it. Most of the lower strata exist on nothing but manna. They seem quite healthy on it though, so who knows, maybe it is good for you after all.
But I just can’t get used to these long cold winters and short hot little summers we have now. London is slightly isolated, or I should say insulated, by all the people and the heat-conserving tech in all the office buildings, but most people’s houses just weren’t built for these conditions, and are rapidly being replaced by new heat-retaining panel apartments, another boom industry. Ours has had extra layers of heat-reflecting fibres laid down in the roof, and we have a generous heating cred allowance, but some mornings I simply can’t seem to get warm outside the flat. Maybe I am just getting old, but I am fifty-five for pities sake, that’s not even halfway through, so it must just be me. Cathy has reverted to wearing two layers of dermis outside the house, so hardly any of her body heat ever leaves her, I hate it though, it’s so constricting and tight, like wearing a second, (or in her case a third), skin. I still like to feel the air flowing over my body, that silky glide as your skin reacts to each passing wave of air when the goose-bumps come up so quickly, and then settle down again. I have always hated those dermis suits, with their silky metallic sheen it feels as if we are all turning into some sort of androids or robots, and indeed with the latest ones having chips installed they are just like robot bodies, automatically regulating themselves to maintain a median temperature no matter what the outside world is doing. All those sci-fi vids coming true, it would seem. A bit too soon for my liking too.
I blinked on the news channel as the decaf was brewing and the Middle East is blowing up again. How long has that conflict been going on for now, it must be a hundred years. It just seems that it will never be sorted out. They are fighting over water now, perhaps because they have run out of everything else to fight about. I read up about it a while back, and though you can never fully trust the versions they let you read, even the differing slants I could get hold of all despaired of any real solution. Both sides seem to act with such duplicity that any agreements last only a few years before they break down and they start fighting again. And despite Isreal’s continued economic and military dominance you can’t help feeling that the sheer weight of numbers on the other side will prevail sooner or later, and then there is the Muslimisation of Israel itself; as more and more Jews leave for America, their true spiritual home, and the Arabs simply have more kids than everyone else, they must win in the end I suppose.
Anyway, it’s nearly six-thirty, so I had better stop this, as she will be stirring soon. I will have to make out I have just woken and couldn’t sleep so sat and watched some old re-run on the kitchen screen.”