Let’s Zoom again like we did last summer/yesterday/last week? Ummm, Zoom is now a verb, more frequently heard these days than zerox or google, and no longer needs capitalization (“Thank you so much for the zoom info and the questions.”).There are many other Zooms (the PBS Show, and from that Zoomers, Zoom-aholic, Zoomerang, the lens type, the film technique, and the evil practice of Zoombombing. There is even an emergency health clinic franchise in Portland and Seattle called Zoom+Care (no relation). There have been Zoom cocktail parties, and now, with the shift of season, Zoom barbecues.
What would we have ever done without the wheel? Well, one might now restate the question as “what would we have ever done in COVID-19 quarantine without the Internet and virtual visits?” Thanks to such applications as Zoom, FaceTime and others, many 68ers have been able to keep in touch virtually.
Shown here is a capture of a session held on May 17, 2020 that enabled Frank Reed, Bob Chambers, and Garrett Thornburg (top row) and Clark Hulse, Bob Lord and Wendell Dickerson (bottom row) to reconnect
We give special value to this particular capture not just because we have Clark Hulse back in the fold, but also for the chance to view Bob Lord’s pandemic hair style. We caught up with Bob by phone shortly afterward and learned of an ongoing contest between wife Diane and himself, a game called Count the Masks. Apparently they play this game during their daily walks. Bob conveyed some disappointment after losing one day (he was counting only the human mask-wearers, Diane had graduated to including dogs in her count…).
There’s no doubt that Zoom does a great job. It stands out among its competitors for its ability to keep the conversation alive even when connectivity falters. What remains to be seen is what status virtual connectivity will maintain once it is an option, and not a requirement. In Massachusetts, lawyers have now been able to make requests of judges remotely, saving a trip through snarled urban traffic. Book clubs and monthly meetings are filled to the brim given the ability to show up and leave at one’s convenience, again, saving a trip across town. But we will most likely favor live TV shows and concerts over their Internet-transmitted counterparts. So it’s not impossible to imagine that Zoom fatigue will disappear when, hopefully, a different Normal takes the place of our current New Normal. Fingers crossed.