Are We “Pre-Zooming” Too Much?

This past year of isolation has been hard.  But it has been made bearable, mainly by our computers.  Sounds weird, doesn’t it. But it’s true.  The outside world coming in to us with information, videos, performances, social media connections, etc, etc. 
But one of the biggest gifts?   It’s been our Zooms. 

Seeing faces in those little boxes…faces that you want to hug, or watch do a play, or take a yoga class with, a seminar, and even share a dinner…(of course you do the cooking for yourself, but hey, who cares.  At least you have someone to talk to if you’re alone, or other than the people that you’re cooped up with.)

And so many more things are available to do on Zoom. I love Zoom.

But as this year progressed, so many of us have lived in our sweats or pajamas from the waist down, gained some weight, cut our own hair, and often skipped washing our face. We look at ourselves on the screen and wonder, “who is that?” 

So we may try to work on ourselves before a Zoom.  We put on some make up or shave, and try to get the lighting just right.  If nobody knows us on the Zoom, we can get away with anything, but Zoom commenting, seems to have become a bit of a “thing” right now. So when you happen to be on with some friends, you might say, “Hey everybody, I just wanted to ask…does Mindy look a bit wasted to you? She couldn’t even focus her eyes,” which might be a discussion after Mindy leaves the group.  Or, “Wow…Ben looks like he’s almost as old as his father now with that beard.”

Actually, Mindy and Ben don’t really look bad at all.  But in the wrong setting, the Zoom can exaggerate any little flaw you have, and because you are usually viewed from the chest up, assumptions are often made that aren’t necessarily true.  “What happened to Carly’s nose? I think it grew!” (Actually Carly leaned a little too close to the computer, and it froze a bit and caused a little distortion.) And then there’s the other side. “Wow, Steffi looks so gorgeous! She looks younger and really rested.  So how come I feel I look like a moose when I look at myself on-screen. I hate that! What did she do that I didn’t??   And Alan…Wow! He looks so hot and sexy.  But wait a minute… what are those big bags under his eyes?  Doesn’t look like he’s sleeping at all!”  Actually, it’s Alan’s bad lighting that is totally exaggerating everything.  And although he has some mild bags under his eyes, on his Zoom, it looks like they’re big enough to pack some clothes in.

Also there’s the problem of a group of friends having a visit on Zoom.  Very often one or two of the friends seem to dominate the conversation, so as you’re starting to make a point about what was just said, Leslie pops in during your first sentence and takes over for the next four minutes.  Then you start to try to make your point again and Shireen talks over you.  When Shireen finishes, you’ve already forgotten what you wanted to say, and you chime in with a vacant sentence, or you mostly just listen.

Since the theaters have all been shut down, gearing up to watch a play on Zoom is another thing.  You’re really excited to see a new work. But you forgot to turn off your Audio and you didn’t shut down your Mail application… so as your emails come in there is a pinging that might even be heard by the actors, and because they are acting, they won’t be able to tell you to “shut it!  And how about seeing those actors in their little boxes and then as they talk they go full screen.  And sometimes, you may not even know who they’re talking to.

And how about when that Zoom screen freezes and you may have to shut it down by hand.  You really don’t want have to think about those things before you get on a Zoom.  And you shouldn’t.  What would we have done without it.  We would have been quarantined at home, longing for some contact, and having to make do with a friend Face-timing you on the phone, (which is pathetic next to a Zoom, and not the most flattering option, to say the very least.)

Yet, it’s an interesting thing to ponder.  And yes, there are Zoom problems, because after all, it is only a computer.  And if it happens to go awry, well, good luck. 

And…in your frustration, you can just scream at your Zoom all you want. 

But sadly…

it will never respond.

Zoom Away, Hip Silvers…

Hey…it beats the Alternative,

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