Holy Cow, Batman, It's Another ZOOM session
For most people, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the word “ZOOM” meant moving too quickly or was a reference to vintage Batman and Robin lingo ...
“ZOOM – BANG – POW – ZAM – WOW.”
ZOOM was a part of my life prior to the pandemic due to my role as an executive director for a health center. We utilize Zoom for meetings, patient care and behavioral health within the confines of the workplace. However, now the aspects of my life that used to be separate from work are connected: Work, friends, family are all now happening in the same space, causing ZOOM fatigue.
Within in a 14-hour period on any given day, I manage a couple of board meetings, patient follow-up meetings, new AKC breed one-on-one mentoring sessions, ZOOM yoga with Judy, ZOOM chat with family and the never-ending ZOOM happy hours arranged by friends to whom you feel guilty saying “No.”
I must admit I have become a master at staging my ZOOM calls to where I only have to focus on my upper body. leaving my lower extremities all natural or usually swathed in boxer shorts and sandals. And, of course, on my leisure time, the a.m. coffee cup or the afternoon Yeti often contain an adult beverage or two to assist with the medically diagnosed ZOOM fatigue. It’s really hard for me not to look at my own face on camera and not be conscious of how I’m behaving, and God forbid during the course of the meeting or social networking happy hour, I suddenly realize that I had inadvertently failed to remove a thick, protruding hair from an ear or nostril. Seriously, do you know how awkward it is to excuse yourself and return to the screen all fresh and tidy, knowing that everyone participating already had seen the unsightly, disgusting follicle and know that you removed it? Yet another reason adult beverages are part of basic ZOOM protocol.
I call MS.POLLY, friend and fellow Middle Peninsula Kennel Club of Virginia member, often to make sure all is well during COVID-19. MS.POLLY lives a 20-minute drive from the house, and between the two of us, we have managed to implement several strategies to assist with ZOOM fatigue.
1. Identify at least one room in the house to remodel.
2. Purchase at least 100 new plants for the garden.
3. Plant numerous vegetables that require daily maintenance.
4. Maintain at least two bird feeders.
5. Order wine by the case.
6. Walk the property daily to identify wild flowers.
7. Call Ms.Roz to assist with at least one new upholstery project.
8. Make weekly visits to Fergusons Seafood and Tommy’s Produce for fresh crabs and local tomatoes.
9. Call daily to find out what each other is cooking for dinner.
10. Call daily to find out the most recent club to cancel their show, and to gossip about the latest relationships that have succumbed to ZOOM fatigue.
11. Call to determine if we should drink the $1,000 dollar bottle of Russian vodka straight up or with a lime wedge?
Yesterday, while driving to the hospital to drop off some clinic-related documents, I phoned MS.POLLY.
“Hey there, how’s it going?”
“I’m doing great. I hope you can stop by soon to see the gardens and to see what I am having done with the bathroom and the kitchen,” Polly shares.
“Of course, probably this weekend when things slow down, and don’t forget we have to partake in that Russian vodka, and I am still pondering with or without lime?”
“I’m pretty sure I will be enjoying mine without lime, and with a little ice.”
“I’m okay with that!” I respond. “Oh, did you ever figure out what was in that huge nest on top of your chimney?" I ask MS.POLLY.
“No, not yet. Hopefully MR.JONES will get the ladder out soon and solve the mystery.”
MS.POLLY and I continue talking for another ten minutes or so, discussing our dismay at last week’s Tommy’s tomatoes, the high price of crabs, customer service at Lowes, and current blooming day lilies.
“Not to change the subject, but I actually took a shower, did my hair, put on a fancy top and make up yesterday.”
“What the hell, MS.POLLY, did you have a hot date?” I jokingly inquire.
“No! We had our Welsh Terrier Club of America ZOOM meeting,” she laughingly states. “Yep, I looked pretty damn good from the waist up, and lipstick, too. I didn’t pay any attention to the lower half. No need! And I managed to have a few adult beverages. The only problem was that the camera angle was a bit off, and it made me appear slouching in the chair and half asleep. So they told me after the meeting.”
“Well, you know, MS.POLLY, when you’re physically on display, and being watched, everyone is looking at you as if you’re a Broadway star or even better, an AKC dog judge who has the power to point the finger. And, the social pressure and need to perform is nerve-wracking, not to mention having to watch your own face in the process.
"Recently, I judged a virtual Labrador Retriever specialty in Russia. It was beautifully managed with clear instructions. However, I had no idea how intense the process was going to be. It was exhausting, having to evaluate and critique each dog, clicking back and forth between images and videos to compare each individual dog and select the winners and placements in the various colors and classes. No regrets, but I will refrain from doing this in the future while I attempt to reduce my fatigue symptoms.”
I need built-in transition periods for drinking, stretching, gardening, walking and eating, if this ZOOM situation is going to be around for a long period of time. And, maybe, if someone really needs to reach me, or has a question, WRITE ME A LETTER and mail it instead of ZOOM–BANG-POW-ZAM.