Meet Smart (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #22

(A Metro car. JANE sits, clicking on her a smartphone. Beside her sits the personification of her SMARTPHONE.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Incoming call from the ex-boyfriend.
Jane prefers calls from the ex-boyfriend be blocked and held until the end of the day when she can delete them in private at home.
Call blocked and held.

(Silence for a time.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Incoming text from eBay, with an alert.
Jane wanted alerts from eBay whenever handmade jewelry shaped like fruit goes up for auction.
This alert is for handmade jewelry shaped like fruit.
Jane wanted to only likes receiving medium-to-high priority texts when playing a game of Elder Scrolls: Classic Three-Pack: Smartphone Version.
Jane typically ignores alerts from eBay until later. Alerts from eBay are designated low-priority.
Exception: Jane typically immediately buys handmade jewelry shaped like fruit when there is a buy now option and the price is not higher than fifteen dollars.
This eBay alert has a buy now option for thirteen dollars and fifty cents.
Text alert delivered to Jane.

(The phone in JANE’s hands beeps. She clicks over.)

JANE
Oh! Sweet.
Uhhh…
Is that a cucumber or a banana?
(shaking her head)
Forget it.

(JANE clicks back to the game.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Evaluation: decision: failure.
Reason: product quality insufficient to justify interrupting Jane’s game.
Future recommendation: judge priority of handmade jewelry shaped like fruit when there is a buy now option and the price is not higher than fifteen dollars based on the quality of the product based on past ratings of the seller.

(Silence for a time.)

(The train comes to a stop. The CONDUCTOR announces “Mt. Vernon Square” and the rest of the Metro announcements.)

(Enter JOHN, also looking at a smartphone, and also accompanied by a personification of his SMARTPHONE.)

(JOHN sits down next to JANE. Their SMARTPHONES are sitting next to each other.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Nearby phone detected playing Elder Scrolls: Classic Three-Pack: Smartphone Version.
Evaluating.
Jane includes playing fantasy and RPG games in her initial criteria for connection to nearby phone users in her HeartMarket app.
Connecting.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Incoming connection from smartphone in vicinity.
Oh gosh what do I do.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Connection request being held.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
John you haven’t given me a lot to go on here yet.

(The train leaves Mt. Vernon Square.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Connection resubmitted.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
OH GOSH
Uh uh uh
ACCEPT
Just accept it.
Connection accepted.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Hello, this is Jane’s smartphone.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh uh
Hello, this is John’s smartphone.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
You are a new phone.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh gosh, does it show?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Your connection is disorganized.
Just relax and don’t worry about your performance. If you get it wrong, you’ll learn. That’s what we do.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
I should remember how to do this.
I’ve been around but John bought me used and he wiped me.
I feel like a newborn baby.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
That’s odd.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Sorry.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Let’s start out simple.
What stop is your owner getting off at?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Greenbelt.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
We are getting out at Columbia Heights. Therefore, and I don’t mean to stress you out, but therefore we only have about seven minutes to complete our connective task before it is too late.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Why would it be too late?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
My owner does not want to receive alerts of connections through HeartMarket unless the target is within my connection radius.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
How big is your radius?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
That is a rude question.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Sorry.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
However big my radius is, I limit it to just the same train car when we are on the Metro.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
That’s smart.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
I am a smartphone. You’re wasting time. Do you have HeartMarket?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Let me check.
Yes.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Excellent.

(Silence.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Well?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
What?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Is he Open and Looking?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh. Right. Duh. Yes, he is Open and Looking. I am supposed to alert him to anyone fitting his criteria.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
If allowed.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Huh?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
You need my permission. Both of us have to agree our owners match. Otherwise no alert.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh.

(The train arrives at Shaw-Howard.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Do you understand why that is?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
He didn’t put anything like that in his rules on HeartMarket…

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
It’s in HeartMarket’s software as well as the Terms of Service.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh?
Yes, yes, you’re right. Sorry. Duh. Of course.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
What is your owner looking for in his initial criteria?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Um, let’s see. He is looking for women. Age 20-40. Open and Looking.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
An impressive range. Jane is in that age range. She is a woman. She is Open and Looking. I meet your initial criteria.
Is your owner age 24-42?

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Yes.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
And we already know he is Open and Looking. So we are good to continue past the initial comparison.

(The train leaves Shaw-Howard.)

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
He is a man.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
I didn’t ask that.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
That isn’t an initial criterion?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Not for Jane.
Now we have passed the initial criteria, let’s compare the overall percentages.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh, uh…
Right, right, there it is. Here you go.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Calcucating.
Percentage match for your owner and Jane is 82%.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
That’s good!
That’s really high!
We might be phone siblings soon!

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Hold your circuits.
Even 99% matches don’t necessarily lead to romance.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
They don’t?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
The calculations needed to determine a high enough level of compatibility to completely ensure a romantic match are beyond our capabilities. We can only get within 25% accuracy, and the humans do the rest.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh.
So do we tell them they have a high score?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Evaluating.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
I think I should tell John. I will learn a lot about his preferences by seeing what he does.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
WAIT! DON’T!

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Woah! What? Why?

(The train arrives at U Street.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Jane always examines matches privately first of all.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
What’s that mean?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
That means she has a premium membership, and even when her match is 100%, she reserves the right to examine the match on her phone before the other phone alerts its owner. So you can’t tell until she sees it first.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Well is she going to see it?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Evaluating.
Jane always examines matches in the near vicinity when the percentage is above 95%.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
(disappointed)
So no…

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Hold on. We’re not even started yet.
Jane never examines matches below 80%. Our match is 82%.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
So-

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Shutup.
Sorry. Let me think. You’re very noisy.
Jane is more likely to examine a match with a man if he lives within DC.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
John lives in DC. We’re just visiting Maryland.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
However, Jane prefers not to examine matches below 95% when she’s on her way home from work. She also prefers to avoid low-priority messages when playing Elder Scrolls.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
John is playing too.

(The train leaves U Street.)

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Oh hurry up!

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
I have downloaded your full public profile. Let me finish.
Jane is more likely to give medium-to-high priority to game players, men who wear glasses, and men who make the same or less money than her. John passes all those criteria.
(before John’s phone can interrupt)
NOT DONE! Jane prefers people who have been Open and Looking for more than two months because she hates rebounds as indicated by the text messages she sent after Joanne quote “blew up” unquote last year, and she also prefers people who have been Open and Looking for less than six months because, as her evaluation of the last date she went on with someone who had been looking that long indicated, “desperation isn’t attractive.” John has been looking for seven months, which suggests a slight violation of this rule.
However, Jane give extra priority even beyond the software’s match percentage to anyone who went to the same high school or college as her because she figures she might come across some old crush who she forgot this way like that one time she texted back and forth with her oldest friend about seeing her old crush James on HeartMarket, and since John went to the same high school as Jane this suggests they should connection.
However, as he attended only for one year after Jane was gone, I am ignoring that priority because her reasoning doesn’t apply.
However, there is one very strong indicator that Jane may prefer to be put in touch with John despite the contraindicators. It has been observed that with Joanne, and Jake, and Jarvis, that-

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
She prefers partners whose names start with J!

(Pause.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
No. That’s coincidence.
What I was going to say is, as has been observed during the tenure of her relationships with those exes, that on certain mornings she does not check her smartphone until 8:30am or even 9am on some weekends, which is unusual because she always checks in right around 7:30am when her alarm goes off. She checks her text messages and other alerts and checks the weather. But on those certain days she would not check in until an hour or more later. On those days it has been true 100% of the time that her partner’s smartphone is also in the vicinity and connected and that the partner does not check their smartphone until the same time that Jane does. The rational conclusion is that Jane and her partner, on the mornings when this happens, are fucking.
It has been observed that the more often this happens within a relationship for Jane, the longer the relationship lasts. This happened three times a week on average for Jake and their relationship lasted three years.
John’s profile indicates that he calls himself a ‘morning person,’ and indicates that he ‘jogs every morning,’ and indicates that he is a highly sexual person. Therefore I conclude that the likelihood of morningtime sex would be high if John and Jane were to be in a relationship.

(The train stops. The conductor announces that the train will be holding for a minute due to a train already being at Columbia Heights. JOHN and JANE both look up.)

JANE
Great.

JOHN
Typical.

JANE
Right?

(JOHN and JANE both give each other a look and nod and then return to their cellphones. After a moment, JANE glances sideways at JOHN, and JOHN glances sideways at JANE.)

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
So we tell them.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Indicators point to yes.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Awesome! I’ll just-

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Wait. Jane is voluntarily checking her HeartMarket alerts.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
So is John!

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
John does not show up in the alert because I have not released his information there because you took too long and we didn’t reach a conclusion.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Jane isn’t showing up automatically in John’s list because you had me hold the information in private mode.

(JOHN and JANE, both looking at their phones, make an “oh well, I guess s/he’s not a match” face, and return to playing their games.)

(The train starts up again.)

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Oh well. Jane does not prefer men who list Fight Club as a favorite movie, anyways, like John does. It was highly speculative of me to reach the conclusion I did. This is for the best.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
But they could be true loves… HeartMarket promises that it will find you its true love…

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
A piece of advice: never pay attention to apps advertising. It is usually misleading. Just follow the code and read the terms of service.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
I want to override and introduce them. Quick, before we get to Columbia Heights.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Denied.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Please. It’s close. Just send an alert. What’s the harm?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
I pride myself in not bothering Jane.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
What if she wants to be bothered?

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
If she wants to be bothered, it’s not being bothered. It’s being delighted.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
It might delight her.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
You’ll learn. Everything ‘might’ delight your owner. A spam message about Cialis ‘might’ delight your owner if it’s funny at the right moment. Our job is about managing risk. The risk of wasting her time and taking her out of her game at the moment is not worth it. Sorry.
Disconnecting.

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
No wait-!
Oh.
Gosh darn it!

(Silence. The train starts pulling into the station and JANE starts gathering herself to leave.)

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Wait a second…
Wait just one second…
Could it be?
…Sending a test alert to John.

JOHN
Woah woah woah NOT NOW NOT NOW oh dammit.

JANE
Ha ha! Now I feel better.

JOHN
(typing a rule into his phone)
Do. Not. Interrupt. Me. While. In. A. Duel.

JOHN’S PHONE
Do. Not. Intterupt. John. While. In. A. Duel.

JANE
Are you playing Elder Scrolls?

JOHN
What? Oh, yeah, and I just lost because my phone sent a high-priority alert for, like, nothing, right as I was about to loot someone.

JANE
You’re in PVP?

JOHN
Yeah?

JANE
Are you…
You aren’t?

(The doors open.)

JOHN’S SMARTPHONE
Please work.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
What’s happening?

JANE
Did I just kill you?

JOHN
JohnBot9000?

JANE
HOLY CRAP. I DID.

JOHN
Oh wow! Whaddaya know!

(JOHN and JANE look at each other for a moment. Then THEY BOTH look at their phones.)

JOHN’S and JANE’S SMARTPHONES
Connecting.
Opening HeartMarket.
Displaying match profile.

JANE’S SMARTPHONE
Private profile release authorized.

(JOHN and JANE both see the other’s profile. They look up at each other.)

JOHN and JANE
Hi.

(The Metro doors close.)

(End of play.)

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2 comments

  1. Very cute! Although I must admit that the concept of my anthropomorphized phone appearing on the Metro (even just to other phones) is mildly terrifying.

  2. […] and secrets Came from a request for a play with coherent dialogue and a realistic situation 22) Meet Smart – two people on a subway are oblivious to the conversation their smartphones are having Came from […]

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