Well my friends, looks like we’ll have to hold off on the huggin’ and high-fivin’ until September. Just got word from the higher ups at Fourth Presbyterian (no, not that Higher Up) that all public meetings at the Gratz Center are cancelled until then. Disappointing, to be sure. Along with the people, I miss lunging at the snack table and plunging my bare hands into bowls of salty popcorn. Ah, the good old days! But adjust we must. So, for the next couple of months, our meetings will be held via Zoom.
That being the case, and with reports of thousands of people contracting a strain of what has been identified as zoomus fatigueocci (Zoom Fatigue), I’d like to lay out a few guidelines to help make the Zoom experience a bit less painful for all of us:
1. Wear Pants Just in case you have to get up and fetch a cup of coffee or let the dog out. Please. We don’t want to see what we don’t want to see. The horror!
2. Put yourself on mute. The incessant barking of that aforementioned dog can get pretty grating. Same goes for a barking spouse or whoever you happen to be living with. But what if you have something to say that will contribute to the conversation? Great question. Yes, then it is completely safe to unmute and speak your piece. When your exchange peters out, however, revert to mute.
3. As Babs Streisand will tell you, lighting is everything. Don’t be sitting in a darkened room like you’re holding a séance. Nor have a lamp so bright it looks as if a poltergeist hacked into the meeting. Natural light is best. But if that’s not possible, try and arrange a lighting source that will make you look as lovely as Babs. (This goes for men, too.)
4. Nostrils aren’t the most pleasant things to look at. Position your device – laptop, mobile, etc. – at a respectable angle. Straightforward at about eye-level is ideal. And you don’t have to lean in so close to your screen that it begins to feel invasive. Trust me. We see you! A bit of social distancing here -- say, one to two feet – is advisable. Try to simulate a real-life encounter as much as possible.
5. Remember: You are on camera at all times. Things you generally wouldn’t do in public – checking to see if your deodorant is still working, licking dinner plates, etc. – are definite no-no’s. Again, we see you! Should you need to engage in such practices, click the Stop Video icon. Then Start once you’re decent.
Those are all the guidelines I have for now. I loathe rushing summer, but hopefully, September will be here soon enough. And life can get back to some semblance of normalcy.
Miss you all. Looking forward to seeing you at our next Zoom meetings, but especially, in person.
- Laura Stigler
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