A page from my private diary

Image courtesy curtfleenor.com via Flickr.

(Image courtesy curtfleenor.com via Flickr.)

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2075

Worst day ever. Got hit by a bus yesterday, body a total loss. Now I’m online full time, instead of just visiting.

The worst part? All the “little improvements” I’ve had done over the past few years, a little plastic surgery here, a little tinkering with the genome there — all gone.

Apparently, if I want to keep my voting rights, and be allowed to baby-sit grandkids, and oh, pretty much anything else, I have to run a “standard human simulation.” Living humans are exempt. It’s not fair, and the first thing I do when I get out of the hospital is find whoever’s working to overturn this law and join them. It’s time for equal rights.

They won’t let me go home until I talk to a therapist.

It’s as if I died some slow, torturous, traumatic death. I can’t even remember the accident. I’m saddled with slow, torturous therapy instead.

Feb. 12, 2075

Is it wrong to admit I like group therapy? I love to talk, and there’s nothing better than getting to talk about myself.

Anyway, I’ve moved into my new home. It’s in a “retirement” community. A few of my friends have houses here, there are nice parks. My insurance settlement, plus savings, will generate enough in interest in each year to pay for not just my personal hosting, but for my house, and have quite a bit left over for incidental expenses.

I’ve decided to be twenty. A thin, fit twenty. There’s a lot you can do to look good without deviating too far from the “standard human simulation.” I’ve tried on a bunch of different faces — Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn. You know, the classics. Wind up sticking with my own. I’m used to it. People recognize it. But I still have Audrey saved, for special occasions.

The best thing is — everything is free. I have a perfect garden, no bugs, no weeds. The refrigerator is always full of food. My closet is full of free clothes. There’s a full-size entertainment center, with all the movies, television shows, books, music and everything else I could possibly want. There are malls full of more free fashions, restaurants that serve free meals…

I don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to rush anywhere.

I can finally write that novel I’ve been planning for the past fifty years.

My great-grandkids go on line and come over to play in the yard. I spend time with friends. Life is perfect. I’m starting not to mind the “standard human simulation” quite so much. Sure, I get hungry, and my bathroom has to have a toilet. But, despite the whole virtual thing, I feel pretty much alive, like I always have. The first few days were weird but now it’s like my brain adjusted. You know, when you wear glasses that turn everything upside down for a while, and then your eyes adjust and everything is right side up again? Same thing. My body doesn’t feel weird anymore. Things feel and taste normal. Of course, being here 24/7 and not popping back into a real body all the time helps it feel more real. Plus, my avatar wasn’t a full human simulation. There were no bodily functions, since I still had a functioning human body to come home to.

My neighbor is wasting his time pretending to water and weed a virtual garden. What an idiot. He took Edna down the road out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with real waiters. He paid through the nose. The food is the same. It’s all virtual. Nobody can tell it apart in blind taste tests. It’s just a big waste of money.

Worst of it all, he keeps fake complaining about things. Like, “Oh, my back hurts from all the work I had to do in the garden this morning.” Or, “I went out to eat last night, and can you believe it, they undercooked the fish? I had to send it back.”

I’m going to be smart, stay focused, and write.

Apr. 19, 2075

I’m having a wee bit of trouble starting my novel. I’ve decided that part of the problem is the garden. It’s too fake and artificial.

Today, I went out to the garden center to see about buying some roses.

I could get a living “lite” rose that grows and dies. Or I could get the complete set — living soil, pollinating insects, fertilizer, the whole thing. It’s going to cost a little bit of money, but a fraction of what I’d pay back in the real world. And I’ve got plenty of money to spare. It’s just a rose.

When I walk out into the garden, my new rose sticks out. It’s small and sickly. It needs constant attention. The “living soil” had weeds in it, and bugs.

Worst of all, looking at my rose, you can see immediately that the rest of the garden is fake. It’s like plastic. It looks fine from a distance — a far, far distance — but up close, you can tell right away. When people come over, I know they can tell.

I’m considering ripping out all the fake plants and putting in living ones. Okay, simulated living ones.

Apr. 22, 2075

I needed to get out for some real food. The freebie restaurants, with their ad-supported menus, are driving me crazy. I wanted to eat something that’s cooked by real people and brought to your table by real waiters.

So a few friends and I went out to a new place that just opened and it was great. The food, the service — it wasn’t mass-produced, we didn’t have to look at ads. It was a little bit of a hit to the budget but worth it.

Apr. 29, 2075

We went out to the theater, a live performance of Les Mis. It was great.Tomorrow, we’re going to a concert. The Stones are back on tour. I hear they’re mostly doing stuff of their new album, which is awful, but they’re playing some of the classics, too.

And there’s a new natural eatery that opened up in our community. All the food is grown. Yes, it’s still virtual, but it was planted, and harvested, and cooked just like real food is. They say you can taste the farm.  It’s for a special occasion. It’s not like I’ll be going there every day.

May 7, 2075

I got a cat. I splurged on the latest model. I named her Cricket. She pooped in my closet, and peed on my shoes. She scratches the couch. She wakes me up by sitting on my face.

I have a simulated cat sitter to come in and play with her if I’m gone. But I’m pretty sure she knows it’s a sim, not a real person. And she’s disappointed in me. The couch is always extra scratched when I come back. I might have to ask my neighbor to stop by and check in on her while I’m gone.

Or I might get some fish for her to look at. The pet store had some gorgeous aquariums.

Jun. 19, 2075

I spent the day shopping. I’ve been doing more of that lately. And not just because Cricket pees on my stuff.

I can’t go out to a nice dinner in freebie clothes. Or go out to the theater. Or meet my friends of coffee in out-of-date, freebie-rack “retirement” clothes. Like some pensioner.

I’m not embarrassed about my age. But I don’t want people to look at me and right away think, “She must be over a hundred.”

Jul. 22, 2075

My garden is full of weeds. I’ve been stung by one of my bees.

Hah! Listen to me! I’ve turned into my annoying neighbor. Utopia problems!

But seriously, my spending is getting out of control.

At this rate, I’m going to be dipping into my principal soon, and I don’t want to do that.

On the other hand — I am still getting adjusted to not being alive anymore, to having everything be virtual. And I know that hosting prices and land prices are going to keep dropping, so I’ll need less  money in the future to live on.

A few of us from the support group are planning to go on a nice spa getaway. We’re going to be pampered. And there will be body and face artists there who will design appearances for us that are beautiful but still, you know, clearly us and not some generic off-the-shelf Barbie.

Aug. 10, 2075

The spa trip was wonderful! I came back invigorated, refreshed, and I look fantastic. And I had so many ideas for things to write about. I’ve already made some notes.

Sep. 5, 2075

Went to Mars last weekend. Not the official government simulation one, with the ground station exhibits and all the scientific stuff. I’ve been there, done that. Felt like I was on a class tour trip. You’ve seen one dusty red planet, you’ve seen them all.

We went to the Mars resort. Live shows, gambling, legalized prostitution — not that I have personal experience of it. Lots of alcohol, which is why I have a monster hangover this morning.

I heard they also have illegal drugs. Not the old illegals — pot, cocaine, apparently if it’s something you can do to your real body, it’s okay to do it virtually. I’m talking about the hard-core illegal drugs that mess around with your basic programming– and, if caught, you could lose your human classification. One of my friend’s cousins got hooked, blew through all his money, and is now stuck in a facility where they’re trying to put his personality back together. I hear on the news all the time about addicts overdosing. And now they’re dead. Dead dead.

If I was going to do drugs, I’d make a backup of myself first, just in case I overdose. But then again, when they activate my backup, she’ll be a clone — a twin, basically, with a shared set of memories, but not me. I’ll still be dead. And my clone will be spending my money. Might as well leave it to my kids, instead.

Or say no to drugs.

On the other hand, I haven’t gotten far with my novel. Maybe a little bit of something-something wouldn’t hurt. Just, you know, for inspiration sake.

Oct. 1, 2075

I checked my bank balance this month, and I’ve blown through my budget for this year, and for the next three years.

I’m trying to figure out what happened.

Well, there’s the clothes. Going out to eat at nice places. Concerts. The spa. The Mars vacation. Where the buffets were excellent, by the way.

Not to mention the cat, the garden, my monthly holo subscription for when I visit the great-grand kids at their house. Oh, and the virtual James Bond, to ummm… guard my body from assassins and stuff. He’s out in my garden now, doing his martial arts exercises. Shirtless. I think I’ll bring him a martini.

Oct. 15, 2075

I need a job. If I keep burning through my money like this, I’ll wind up in a one of those freebie institutions for drug addicts and gamblers and recently released criminals.

I popped over to my old office. It’s been virtual for a couple of decades now, so I didn’t have to use any of my holo minutes. I had to switch back to a limited plan to save money.

Anyway, there was a new guy at my desk. They gave my old job to someone else. Apparently, just because I died, they thought I wasn’t going to want to work anymore.

They said if I’d filed the right paperwork on time, they would have held my job for me while I went through my “transition.” And I might have told them that I was retiring to write my novel. So there’s that.

I went to an employment agency and apparently there’s a ton of jobs out there for virtual waiters and gardeners and spa attendants. And, of those, the only ones I’m qualified for is waiting tables. I can go back to the work that I was doing before, but apparently there’s a lot of discrimination. Employers prefer to give jobs to “living” people who “need” them. I might have to take a serious pay cut, or go back to the kind of grunt work I had to do when I was first starting out.

The job counselor suggested that I take this opportunity to go back to college, start fresh. Take courses in subjects that I wouldn’t have considered before. Make new friends, new contacts, do interships in different industries.

I’m seriously considering it.

Maybe college life will give me some fresh inspiration for my novel.

 

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • “Worst of it all, he keeps fake complaining about things. Like, “Oh, my back hurts from all the work I had to do in the garden this morning.” Or, “I went out to eat last night, and can you believe it, they undercooked the fish? I had to send it back.”

    -)) cute Maria, very cute…hugss

  • Linda

    OMG I think this is the best thing I have ever read that you have written. You are so super creative. I love the cat part!

    Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful treat to get away from the serious debates and read something so imaginative.

  • brava! outstanding! =)

  • Joe Nickence

    Maria Korolov, closet transhumanist. Good story. I had to check the date a couple of times. You’re pretty spot-on for the scenario!

  • Jamie Wright

    “Oh, and the virtual James Bond, to ummm… guard my body from assassins and stuff. He’s out in my garden now, doing his martial arts exercises. Shirtless. I think I’ll bring him a martini.” LOL This whole post is fantastic:)

  • google plussed it-)) tho it used my ethyl name i am trying to figure out how to get rid of!! lol