Say what you will about the evils of technology, access to a computer or smartphone during this crisis has been a godsend. I have become particularly fond of all the teleconferencing options that are available to regular people: Google Meet, Zoom, House Party, to name a few. What I love about these formats is that you can see and speak with a large group of people all at once.
The widespread access of these virtual meeting platforms has made it possible for large numbers of people to continue working from home while sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. My three older kids are all still busy and gainfully employed thanks to the wonders of technology.
But what I love most is that I can see my entire family all at once even though we cannot be together. We have started holding nightly Zoom meetings to catch up and get a glimpse of each other’s beloved faces. It’s reassuring to see face to face that they are doing okay. In fact, I have spent more time talking to my adult children since the crisis started than I had when things were “normal.”
On Easter, my sister-in-law hosted a Zoom meeting for the extended family. I thought it would be pure chaos, but it was a lot of fun. We got to see our nephew’s children enjoy their Easter baskets. The kids were underwhelmed by the fact that they could see a bunch of aunts and uncles, not to mention their grandparents, on their home computer. This is the generation that will truly take technology for granted. It was also good to connect with each other and be able to express some of our fears and anxieties about the road ahead. If there is strength in numbers, then Zoom and its counterparts allow us to draw strength from each other.
People have creatively taken off on the ubiquity of this new way of connecting. A friend of mine posted a shot of the grid of boxes in which family member’s faces appeared with the quip, “We’re like the Brady Bunch!,” referencing the opening credits of that popular Seventies show. And last night I watched the season finale of a new show called Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. During commercial breaks, some of the show’s stars appeared in a virtual meeting format to discuss the season ending and tout the Good Girls episode to follow.
Having technology may not completely combat the isolation and stress people are feeling as they remain at home alone. Still, it is nice to know that reaching out to those we love is only a couple of clicks away.