”Mummy, why are you doing up Grandad’s tie, has he forgotten how to do it? ”.
It’s July the 23rd 2040, my 86th birthday, and the whole family is visiting us at the eco-rest-home we designed and now live in when we’re in the UK.
”It’s his RSI darling, they all have it here”.
Zikbat, my granddaughter, considers this. Then she turns and looks out the window, watching three proud old men fumbling with some cricket stumps and bales, on the lawn outside.
”What’s Iris Eye? ” she asks.
”R. S. I. – repetitive strain injury, kitten. People got it in the olden days. They didn’t know how to talk to computers then, so they typed one letter at the time on to a screen and made words”.
”That’s silly” says Zikbat.
Indeed it is. Actually, back here in July 2000 I’m not married, I don’t have a daughter but I do have a girlfriend, Dawn, and occasionally I have RSI. Dawn travels a lot and she likes to get regular updates from me, so I got a special device to help me out. You guessed it, Via-Voice.
You can say it’s only voice recognition software but like Dawn’s dog, Anna, I swear it understands everything I say. If a virus wiped out my complex multi-layered Photoshop documents I know I’d cope, but losing my relationship with Via-Voice? I don’t even want to talk about it.
Anyway, together we’ve been emailing Dawn all around the world, she enjoys getting daily reports of my feelings for her. Though I must confess, I’m not the most spontaneous or demonstrative man when it comes to romantic words. Flowers yes, poetry? Cupid’s arrow seems to have missed me on this count.
Dictating at the end of the day, when my voice isn’t so clear, has helped. When Via-Voice isn’t sure what I’ve said it stops me gently and says ”Tom I didn’t get that, was it, Dawn, I want you to know that..
1) I’m keeping myself busy
2) I’m mixing my drinks whizzy
3) I’m making myself dizzy
4) I’m dating your friend Lizzie
5) I Love you”.
Generally I say ”Pick 1”. Via-Voice slips in the appropriate phrase and we move on until I get tired again. ”Tom I didn’t get that, was it when you go to bed tonight, please remember…
1) to set the alarm
2) to think of the farm
3) to drink something warm
4) to dream up a storm
5) I Love you”
“Pick 3” obviously. It’s funny though, whatever I dictate, the 5th option always presents itself.
”Grandad, did everyone have Iris Eye in the olden days?”
”Everyone Zikbat” I say. ” Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, even Cupid got RSI from firing so many arrows”.
”You’re silly. Father Christmas has 50 elves dealing with his database, the Easter Bunny is a rabbit, and the whole point of Cupid is he’s invisible so how could you know?”
”I didn’t say I saw him Zikky, but I did hear him once, the day I asked your grandma to marry me” .
My suspicious granddaughter looks at Dawn, who nods. Feigning lack-of-interest Zikbat returns her attention to me.
”Yes, I remember it as if it was only 40 years ago” I say, winking at Dawn who rolls her eyes upwards in appreciation of my timeless humour.
”Your grandma had just come back from Rome. I got down on one knee right there at the airport and asked her.”
” Yes, and I coolly said WHY do you want to marry me?” smirks Dawn.
”And I was just about to say, ”Oh, you know, because we get on quite well, and we have similar interests, and we’ve both been around the block. And then it happened Zikky, that’s when I heard Cupid prompting me, whispering in my ear those two magic words… “
”Surely it was three magic words Dad”, interjects our daughter, the sensibly named Susan.
”Well I only heard TWO”, I say, sitting up in my chair. ”It was definitely Cupid and he definitely said…”
“Pick 5!” shouts the whole family, along with four grinning rest-home staff, two holistic therapists and all my old friends who have now crowded into the sunlit conservatory.
Zikbat’s suspicious frown turns into a smile as she sees a candle laden chocolate cake wavering through the affectionate throng towards us.
”You’re ALL silly”, she concludes.
Yes we are, my love. Yes we are.
Be the change you wish to see in the worldMahatma Gandhi