Tuesday, April 14, 2020

To Zoom or Not to Zoom

Christine Cagney once said, “change equals psychological loss." It has been almost 40 years since I wrote that line. Now I find myself reconsidering.

The Pandemic is slowing everything down, moving the world from a frenetic pace to a manageable tempo. All I need do is survive it. Hell, at age 82, that was pretty much all I had to do when the reference to Corona was limited to a very mediocre Mexican beer.

But depression, recession, folks out of work, people remaining in their homes... all that is familiar territory to someone my age. Consequently, my period of adjustment has been relatively smooth. Until now.

I have come under a lot of pressure of late to Link up and ZOOM. Face Timing, Linking, Zooming, App downloads... trying to buy toilet paper on the Internet… now, that connotes psychological loss to me.

Still, I am told that virtual Seders at Passover were quite moving… and, I would guess, not nearly so fattening as the real thing. I am also informed that virtual family Easter gatherings were, in lieu of the actual, very satisfying (except for Sharon, she wanted a Honey Baked Ham).

In this time of restriction and social distancing, doctors have found Zoom to be a great way to “see” patients. They won’t do the same thing by phone as they will by Zoom, which, I suspect, may have something to do with their ability to charge your insurance company for an office “visit.”

Business meetings are giving in to this new technology. I am trying to imagine a Network “pitch” meeting being done this way and… well… I just can’t.

Folks sentenced to sequestration seem to crave connection via their I-Pads, PCs and Macs. Not me.

I have thought about it though… being one of those talking heads reporting from home, and just how to do it. Placing those Emmys of mine (and Sharon’s) not so discreetly in the background, the lens (where is the lens on a PC anyway?) being elevated enough to obliterate some of my cragginess, but not so high as to expose my considerable girth. The newest of my large collection of caps would probably work well and it would certainly cap off (no pun there…honest) any need to curtail the glare from my cranium. And where to put that light source? Even more importantly, how could I preview what it was I’d be projecting out there to… well… whomever was out there?

I have observed the (supposed) pros on the newly sequestered cable talk shows and it is, at best, a very mixed bag. Most everyone looks awful, their words often out of sync with their mouths, plus those interminable delays between question and answer.

There are the most recent headlines about “Zoom Bombing,” with its potential for loss of privacy, the invasion of personal space, and the very real threat of identity theft.

I think I’ll stick with this venue. You may, or may not, be “out there in the dark,” but whatever, I will be comfortably robed, taking breaks whenever I want, pausing when I want to receive a phone call and… where necessary… massaging thoughts I have had and… who knows?... Maybe improving upon them with a change of punctuation, or the omitting of a word or two.

Like you I have no idea how much longer this will go on. I could, for instance, predict that because of the Virus there will be no football season. Truth to tell, I am not sure if this is pessimism or (given the scheduled USC opener against Alabama) wishful thinking. Mainly I won’t miss the crowds, even though they were once (for me as a USC head yell leader) what it was all about.

I miss my kids and their visits. That said, pretty much everything else about this sequestration business is okay with me. Maybe, like the groundhog, I will come out of my hole when I can no longer see Donald Trump's shadow...over everything.

Barney Rosenzweig

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