Welcome to the crazy times we now live in. Between 2020 to at least 2021 we have lived in an upside-down world of a pandemic, sickness, death and a world of challenges we never expected.
For me, my biggest challenge has been trying to communicate with people in my world. Before last year, I thought I was being modern and in touch via Skype and Facetime off my Apple devices. I could easily enjoy a quick and private call with family and grandkids! It was a nice way to talk and catch up and was easy for a non-geek like me!
However, 2019 changed all of that. In my agency we went to using MS Teams for our internal calls for security reasons and on Zoom for all the calls to non-Feds. As we deal with state and local government for a large part of our work, Zoom is the new software of choice.
As for me, the word Zoom had a few meanings that I was comfortable with. They included:
- As a VERB: such as to move or travel very quickly.
- As a VERB: such as with a camera change smoothly from a long shot to a close-up or vice versa.
- As a NOUN: such as a camera shot that changes smoothly from a long shot to a close-up or vice versa.
The software Zoom — as is copied from their website — “is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms.”
So now we have now added the term to our new pandemic world! We are now able to share our happy faces in this little box that seems to show all my deep wrinkles, grey hair and not-so-recently shaved face with the world. Working at home has some advantages as the coffee machine and bathroom are close. However, waking up and shaving no longer go together for me! Yes, I get to work on time as it takes five minutes to walk to the office but few times do I turn on the camera!
One of my favorite authors is Rick Bragg. I have mentioned him in several past articles reciting his views on coleslaw and life in the South.
In the March 2021 issue of Southern Living he says, “I teach writing at the University of Alabama and due to the pandemic, I have been doing it mostly remotely. Suddenly, a picture of my gigantic face stares back at me from my laptop. I see the thinning of my hair, the bleariness of my eyes, the sagging of my jaw. If the screen is not properly positioned, all that is visible is the lower half of my noggin, and if I adjust it too abruptly, I cut off my chin, which makes me look kind of like a huge, pale PEZ dispenser.”
Believe me, I can relate to this! In my head I am still a much younger person who still looks like I did 10 years ago. No gray hair, no wrinkles and no beard! I guess I am wrong. Reality stinks sometimes!
So now we are in this new world that is not going away anytime soon per Dr. Fauci! I have learned to clean up before Zoom sessions — or leave the camera off — how to add backgrounds that cover up many of my weaknesses and even how to adjust the lights so my looks improve slightly!
The new tricks of the trade are how we all now survive! Keep on Zooming!