Wednesday 30 August 2000


I don't want to take a bag to the carnival, so I'm making him carry my things. My girl things. A lipstick; a powder compact; a ten-pound note; the phone. (I was the most anti of all anti-mobie people. Who sighed when your phone rang on the bus? Who quivered with barely suppressed rage as you ran through all of its dial tones in a crowded train carriage? Me, that's who. But now I've got one. It was cheap, second-hand. And slowly, slowly, I'm falling in love with it.)

So now he's got it in his pocket. Front left pocket of his jeans. He's looking pretty today. Extra tall, rosily sunbrowned from last weeks trip to the Sussex sand-dunes, skinny-lean and confident. But it's the phone in his pocket...I can just see it, the outline, the top few centimetres, the nub of the ariel.

It rings and I pluck it from his pocket but it's for him anyway, so I pass it over. He presses it to his ear, ignores Tris next to him, talks down the phone to Jeremy. I fall behind, talk to Sophie, watch him. I hate people who ignore their friends to talk down the phone. It's so rude. But right now, on him, I'm loving it. The way the phone's clasped to his head; the way his arm is angled - jaunty, I'd call it - the way he's striding along and tapping the umbrella against the pavement with each step - it's so not him, so everyone else. I love seeing it.

For the first time ever, this Luddite boy with his classical music fetish, his technology-disdain, his pseudo-ignorance of twenty-first-century social mores, seems to be taking his place among normal human beings. He's laughing down the phone, smiling at Tris, watching the people, jiggling slightly in time to the cheesy house music. It's an Advert Moment. He's tall, handsome, just plain normal: not such a sore thumb as he thinks he is. Which means neither am I. We're just plain normal. And I love that.


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