ACT N.2 ‘I Know My Birthday’ / Glitches from the Pandemic

by slutty urbanism


(Morta enters the stage)

Morta: HI! My name is Morta. This is the 126th day I’ve stayed at home since the Covid outbreak. My best and only companion in the real world is my cat. Her name is Voca, an 11-year-old ginger lady. Like most young urban creatives, I work from my home studio. I do yoga and meditation with Apps. My daily grocery trip works perfectly with online purchase platforms. What is great about living in the city centre is that delivery fees are incredibly low. I really enjoy this ‘stay local and consume global’ lifestyle! Although not being able to go out is a bit sad, with FaceTime, Messenger video calls, I toasted to friends with good French wine. Yes, I’ve indulged myself with good quality food since travel and going out are temporarily impossible. I am actually busy just by staying in my apartment. I have subscribed to Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime video. Half of them are paid by my company, so why not?! How do I manage my platform hopping life? My house secretaries do actually, namely Siri and Alexa (I called them ‘Si’ and ‘Ale’). They help me with everything.   


Morta: Oh! It’s time for lunch! I often forget to eat when I get into work, Siri helps me to remember. Hey Siri! Please stop the alarm. Hey Siri! Please search for ‘best lunch for yogi’.

Siri: There are 310 results for ‘best lunch for yogi’. Please choose.

Morta: For god sake… okay, hey Siri! Please search ‘Salad bowl for yogi with avocado’ 

Siri: Here comes results of ‘Salad bowl for yogi with avocado’ 

(Morta checks on screen)  

(Looks back to the camera)

Morta: I’ve been ordering organic food from the online grocery platform. You know the best thing about algorithms is that once you’ve started using them, Facebook and Instagram automatically recommend other similar online grocery platforms to you. I’ve tried many of them. I am a supporter of local product (#supportyourlocal), I know avocado is not local but it tastes so good….

(Open the fridge, take out avocado and others)

Morta: Alexa! Can you tell me why Avocado tastes so good?

Alexa: According to wikipedia… (starts reading)

Morta: Damn it! (with mashed avocado on her hands) The most annoying thing with Avocado is you never know how exactly ripe it is from the outside. I’ve been telling myself to get an avocado cutting tool 20 times. Alexa! Stop reading! Search for ‘avocado cutting tool’.

(Bing! from phone)

Morta: Who’s that?! Don’t you understand I am trying to make my lunch salad? Hey Siri! Read the message for me. 

Siri: Here is the message from Telegram: ‘Ola pinky slutty, do you want to have some cyber fun with me?’ Sent from Tiago445 at 12:47.

(Alexa is still reading about avocado cutting tools… )

Morta: What? I don’t know this person or account. Hey Alexa! Mark the message as spam. (Alexa stopped) Uh no Hey Siri! Mark the message as spam. Alexa! You can continue.

(Morta cleans her hands) 

(Alexa still reading about avocado cutting tool options)

Morta: (Check the phone) Oh no! Actually I do know the person. I just don’t remember his account. His name is James, why does it use this weird account name? Um…he is my…online sex buddy. He lives in Brazil and with the time difference we do things at unusual times. But actually it makes things a bit more exciting. I am going to un-spam the message and see what’s going on…

Alexa: According to users’ reviews, this avocado cutting knife got voted the most highly recommended…

(Morta still stares at her phone, with one hand stirring her salad)

Morta: Okay, the spam mistake is fixed. I am gonna send him a message. Maybe the salad can wait, but I have to add this avocado thing to my shopping list. Alexa! Thank you, please add this one to my shopping list. I think there are also a pair of yoga pants, one pack of cat litter sand, and bleach on the list as well. Right? Please confirm.

(Bing! Tiago445 sent a message)

Alexa: I’ve added it to your weekly shopping list. Your shopping list now has…on it. Do you want to check out now?

Morta: (Staring at phone and typing back Tiago445) Oh yes why not! Um…okay I need to get my gadgets for the game with James ready. But wait, Alexa! Can I have free return of this avocado tool?

Alexa: If you use Klarna, you can pay in 2 weeks after you receive your package. And free of return during this time.

(Morta Busy running around)

Morta: Great! Alexa! Please choose the Klarna payment.   

(Bing! Klarna verification: entering your birthday)

Morta: 14th, October, 1994

(Bing! Klarna: technical error, please choose other payment)

Morta: No way! I know my birthday. What’s wrong with it? (after reset 15 times it still fails). What is this Klarna? Alexa! Please pay with the pre-setting credit card. God I don’t have the time to explain my birthday… Hey Siri! What is Klarna?

Siri: Klarna is one of the fast growth unicorn startups in Europe….

Morta: What unicorn? Ok enough, I really don’t have the time for this. James is going to call in 10 minutes. Hey Siri! Stop reading. Hey Siri! Play chill’n music. Alexa! Turn on the neon light and close the curtain. 

(Music on)

Alexa: Payment with credit card is rejected. Please contact the bank which issued your credit card.

Morta: What? Hey Siri! Call HSBC service line. No wait. I need to cancel with James first (call denied).

(After 30 mins waiting on the phone line with cyber sex suit in a bad mood)

Service line: I am sorry Ms., after cross-checking, it seems like the failed payment by Klarna has led to the credit check of our credit reference agency. There is nothing we can do more before the result of the report. We will let you know as soon as the report is out. You can then open an issue case if you have any doubt. I hope you have a good day. (du-du-du-du) 

Morta: Shit! How am I gonna do all my platform payments now?

(Morta looks outside of the window, there is an aerial ladder fire truck outside. A singer is singing on the top of the ladder, waving at residents in apartments. People are happily dancing and singing along from the balcony. At this moment, Morta feels that all that is solid to build her quarantined life now melts into air. But why does this cheesy song sound so good? A stream of tears come rolling down her cheek)