Saturday 22 September – Day 18 of 30
Steve woke up this morning with a renewed determination to stay away from the news feeds. He would institute a boycott of the tenth floor of the iTower, not for others, but for himself. Yesterday’s all-day sojourn in the gardens, when he had opportunity to reflect and muse, had shown him how his moods fluctuated with the news from The Earth.
Specifically, he responded to what was happening with Apple. Good news, and he felt euphoric. Bad news, and he was depressed or angry or frustrated. He felt like a puppet up here on The Cloud, whereas on The Earth he had felt like the puppet master. His feelings were so extreme that he wondered if he had turned into a manic-depressive. Maybe he always had been?
He almost wished the Big Guy had mandated a two-way communication blackout—no contact in either direction. Given the circumstances, he was going to have to employ strict self-control. Pretend there was a news blackout.
Today was a good, easy day to put his resolution to the test. He wasn’t scheduled to work, so he wouldn’t even be in the iTower. And, he was going to a Deathday party he had been looking forward to—another musical event over in The Circle, this time hosted by Irving Berlin.
Steve went to the food tents and ordered a picnic lunch for two. Then he went in search of Amelia, wishing he had had the foresight to invite her earlier, but he’d been too wrapped up with the iPhone 5. The music today was from her era and she would definitely be going. Would she want to go with her friend Steve? Would she dance with him?
Lord Ganesh must have removed some obstacles for him, he thought, as he spotted Amelia Earhart on the path in front of him, heading towards the concert. She was alone. He hurried to catch up.
“Amelia!” he said. “Will you share a picnic with me? Can we sit together? Will you tell me what you remember about Berlin and the Gershwins and the Big Bands?”
“I’m surprised you’re coming,” Amelia said. “Nobody has seen you lately. I guess we all thought you were very busy on some new project.”
“No,” said Steve. “I’m only working on one little project, and it’s still a secret. I’ve made sort of a New Year’s resolution to avoid news from The Earth and live more on The Cloud.”
“Good idea! We all figure that out eventually. It just takes some people longer.”
They were among the first to arrive at The Circle and quickly found a picnic spot. Steve looked at the program. It was a typical Deathday announcement, listing years lived on The Earth, years served on The Cloud, years to go before eligibility. But Irving Berlin’s numbers were staggering.
Born Israel Baline, he read, 11 May 1888 in Russia. Died Irving Berlin, 22 September 1989 in New York City. Aged 101 years. Twenty-three years served on The Cloud. Seventy-eight years remaining. The old man had to do twice as many years as Steve.
The concert opened with the No. 1 song of 1926, “Blue days, all of them gone; nothing but blue skies, from now on.”
“I like that,” Steve said to Amelia. “Nothing but blue skies, from now on.”
He liked the song and the thought very much, and would like it to be true for him.
(to be continued tomorrow)