Lifestyle & Culture

The Joy of Virtual Communication

May 10, 2020



MY INTRODUCTION to Zooming was a sad one. I downloaded the software specifically to be a spectator at a memorial service for a friend.  After clicking on the link I received, suddenly I was transported to a graveside somewhere in Maryland, where a rabbi and then a series of family members spoke lovingly about the deceased. Lots of little screens showing other people who were present, some crying, appeared above the main screen. I was depressed all day.

The next time I Zoomed was with my husband and our dear friends who live in Virginia. It was great fun. People call it “Zoomtini Hour” when you do it at the end of a day, everyone with a drink in hand. While nobody on our call was drinking a martini, and all we did was talk about Covid-19 and how it was impacting our lives, still it was a blast to see their faces up close and remember visiting their beautiful house on the river. It was almost like being there. Almost. Since their cell service was spotty, every so often a face would freeze in a weird expression while the voice kept talking. The whole thing felt just like an old “Twilight Zone” episode, that one where a strange virus takes over the world and everyone is forced to stay indoors and can communicate only over computer screens.

Anyway, by then we were hooked and realized the sky’s the limit! Tom and Linda in D.C. had much better cell service and came in crystal clear. Hey, there’s that painting in their dining room that I always loved! And Herrmann, their adorable schnauzer who we met when he was just a puppy, jumped onto Linda’s lap and stayed for the whole conversation. We all drank heavily (not the dog), just like on so many Saturday nights when they lived around the corner from us. But this was even better since we didn’t have to stumble home afterwards and could just crawl upstairs to bed.

Since then we’ve Zoomed repeatedly, each time with greater ease and far less confusion. Last night we spent an hour-and-a-half with our best friend in New York, and even toyed with the possibility of starting a Risk game next time. The whole thing is even better than before, eliminating all that annoying business of booking airline tickets, going through security and sitting in a tiny cramped tube for several hours. I’d suggest investing in Zoom today, since this is obviously what our future looks like.

—Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

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