Our Pandemic Friend

As we try to survive another lockdown, we’ll be looking once again to our new best friend, Zoom, to help us through.

Zoom and other online connection platforms are not the only new technologies ready to help us with distractions throughout this time of isolation. Take the recently developed shower head with a built-in speaker. It gives you up to 7 hours of music via Bluetooth, so you can sing while you are soaping up. That’s extra practice time for your new singing career! You can also connect to other speakers in your home so that family members in another room can sing along. Fortunately there is no camera involved.

Then there is the trendy new vacuum, Roomba, which vacuums your whole house and replaces your cleaning lady who might have covid germs. But consider my husband Peter’s recent purchase, meant to scare away the squirrels and skunks who are digging up the lawn. A black box called Yard Gard, it operates on a high-frequency signal which scares the creatures away. Then we realized we had nothing to watch in the back yard! So we sent it back.

But, as the dark winter looms, without even the joy of a family Christmas to plan for, we need more than just singing and animals to distract us. We need mental health support! Online courses provide some relief, and there are many options.

Blog readers talk about book clubs, exercise classes, and bridge lessons online. Other readers tell us about lecture series that cover many different topics, from art to history to science. These courses and lectures are especially good if you have your wine and potato chips on your desk. I am even considering an online course in Italian for the winter. If I don’t know the answer to “comme stai?” I can turn off my camera and pretend I went to the bathroom.

Do these platforms work perfectly? Not really. Peter and I took part in our university 50th reunion online recently. It was informative but it wasn’t personal. Many beloved classmates weren’t there, and opportunities to chat were limited. Nothing replaces that face-to-face meeting where we can see smiles and other body language. And of course wrinkles. Then we can ask ourselves, “How did those Other people get so old?”

A while ago Peter and I tried to turn a Zoom performance into a face-to-face meeting, and we got into trouble. We had been invited to watch a performance of a grand daughter who was taking an online acting course. We eagerly signed onto the Zoom platform, a new experience for us. And there, on the screen, were the Other grandparents, people we know quite well, all the way over in New Zealand! Without thinking, we waved frantically and called out to them in very loud voices: “Hi over there! How are you doing??”

Almost immediately our phone rang. It was Peter’s daughter telling us to “mute” our mic NOW because we were ruining the performance for everyone else. Oops! Where was that mute button anyway?

Sometimes we oldies are not to be trusted with technology, even during a pandemic.


January reading

One thought on “Our Pandemic Friend

  1. Thank you for my morning chuckle! Glad that you are able to distract us from the lockdown. Laughing is the best medicine for me!


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