Saturday, 9 November 2013

Home Street Homes®


“Hi Catherine. Would you like a cup of coffee? Shall I order one for you?”

“Yes please. That would be lovely.”

“Just as you like it then, not too much milk.  Don’t forget, there’s your red pill to take, and a wee glass of water to go with it.”

“What would I do without you?”


“Hi, Catherine. Oh, I see that you are reading? Is that a book club book?

“No, it isn’t. Or it might be. I don’t know, actually.”

“Because if it were a bookclub book then we could have a really good discussion about it, you know.”

“But it’s not.”

“For example, we’ve been reading the Classic non-fiction book, Autobiography by Morrissey. A pop musician of your generation I believe. We asked ourselves: Why did he devote such a huge chunk of the book on writing about a band rather than delve further into the legal wrangles and acrimonious relationships he was involved in which are far more interesting? Obviously a huge oversight.”

“Ahh... but he went into more detail in the two books that followed, and I’ve heard he’s writing a fourth about the latest court case, the first brought by him. I think it is for slander this time, against a fan who said he enjoyed his performance, to which he replied that everything he does is real and never performed, and promptly sued.”

“You see, you should really join our virtual book club. You’d get so much out of it.”


“Hi Catherine. Beautiful day outside isn’t it.”

“Yes, it certainly looks bright outside.”

“You know, it’s time you got in touch with a friend, Catherine. It has been a while, don’t you think? Actually it has been 11 days. That’s not healthy you know.”

“Talk. To a friend? With who?”

“Let’s have a scroll down shall we? There we are. Look there’s Barry, Caroline – oh no she’s just gone offline – Esther, Gillian. Oh, dear. No, not Gillian. Let’s try Barry shall we?”

“Yes, let’s put Barry on the telly.”

“OK, Catherine. You’re doing just grand. You just have to press the green button here by your armchair.”

“Who’s Barry? Remind me?”

“Oh, Catherine. You met him on Senior Search last week. You had such a good match too. Nearly 9.8. I was proud of that Pairup™.”

“I thought your name was Barry. Isn’t it?”

“I think Barry has gone offline now. Have to be a bit quicker next time, eh?

“Whatever you say Barry.”


“Good morning, Catherine. Shall we go through your schedule?”

“What day of the month is it?”

“Don’t let that worry you, Cath. I can call you Cath, can’t I? Let’s just say today is number 1 and we go up until 7, OK?”

“What happens on 2?”

“Well that is free choice day.”

“Can I go to Giovanni’s and get an ice cream, then?”

“As I said the choice is all yours. You can video-conference a friend or join the Bake or Fakeit class on level 2.”

“I don’t mind really. Your call, Barry.”


“Hi Catherine. Why, you look great today!”

“Thanks, Barry. You don’t look so bad yourself.”

“Today is CTS day. Remember?”

“What is that again? Cognitive thingamijimmy.”

“Cognitive Transfer Selection, which is just a fancy way of saying we jog the old grey matter.”

“Oh, I hate that.”

“But I think you will enjoy it today. Really. We have accessed a social networking site circa 2013, that’s back in the day, eh?”

“OMG. Facebook. Where the hell did you drag up that from?”

“It was made available to us exclusively when you signed up through the Mnemonic Tonic™ plan over ten years ago. Its uploadable now direct to your cortex as passive memory.”

“Whatever that means.”


“Howdy Catherine. Rise and shine. It’s day 6.”

“Which means what exactly?”

“A visit from your brother, Alan.”

“You mean Adam.”

“Yes, Alan.”

“When is he coming?”

“He should be here anytime between 1pm and 6pm.”

“You mean he’s coming here?

“Well, yes, he can enter the Comfort Zone™. Unless, unless. Well, I don’t want to disappoint you, but it may be a video conference after all. Your plan doesn’t cover physical transfers as such. But maybe if you want to sign this document? It is only 99,999 Scottos payable to Home Street Homes®, a bargain really. If you just pay now by pressing the orange button here…”

“I know, and I get 2 weeks to think about it and change my mind, that is if I remember doing it in the first place. Haha.”


“Hi Catherine. Why. You look great today!”

“Barry? Where’s Barry got to?”

“You mean Bobbie? Bobbie has gone on a little holiday.”

“You mean like the Barry did before him. So he is not coming back then either?”

“You know, Catherine. I have just monitored your negativity. It’s reached nearly 7.5. You have 6 good years ahead of you according to our records. We want to make the most of that Lazarus Life plan, don’t we? You know a negative thought takes 1,5 seconds off your life, and that’s not taking sarcasm into account. That’s a whole 2 seconds down. I am on your side, you know.

“Oh, I wish Barry was here. He would understand.”

“Luckily we have a SoulUP™ class today with the de Botton Method. Should get your positivity levels normalised. Just put this headset on, and you be taken on a virtual tour of the most spiritually uplifting works of art in the world starting with this 21st Century portrait of Elton John.”

“But I cleared all that with Barry. I’ll up the dose of the red positivity pill with my morning coffee. Just don’t make me take the tour again. Please?”

Virtual assistants at homes for the elderly: a distant dream? Well, they are already in the making and undergoing testing at an institute for cognitive technology near you. They are expected to encourage you to make conversation, help you make appointments, remind you to take your pills, and remind you to contact friends and acquantainces through video conferencing in care homes for the elderly in the future.

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