The other day, my friend Jessica posted a meme that said: “Why do I feel compelled to wave at the end of Zoom calls? I have literally never walked out of a meeting room waving.”
I responded I could relate to the meme, that I both wave at the beginning and end of Zooms, and I make that wave very waggy, with lots of wrist action, to indicate how approachable and friendly I am.
Jessica responded with this gem: “Oh yeah. It is never some ‘thank you for being here today’ queenly wave. It is like I am trying to wave down an ice cream truck.”
Wave or not, I would argue this isn’t the only odd behavior that we’re experiencing via Zoom now in the time of COVID.
For example, do any of you have a friend or family member who doesn’t seem to understand — or remember — that you can see them when you Zoom?
In my life, it’s my stepdad Peter. William and I Zoom with my parents every couple of weeks and, inevitably during the conversation, Peter’s face starts slipping out of the frame. I’m not sure if they have an especially slippery iPad or if Peter, who loathes having his picture taken, would prefer to disappear. Either way, halfway through, the right side of Peter’s face goes AWOL.
Interestingly, in the world of Zoom archetypes, there is the opposite to a Peter as well. It’s the Zoomer who Very Frequently (caps required) glances down at the frame where they can see themselves. You know they’re doing it because you can see their eyelids lower and guiltily lift. This is often followed by them running their hand through their hair or smoothing down an eyebrow.
To me, it’s nearly as distracting as someone disappearing out of the frame, as you start to wonder who they’re talking to: you or themselves. I’ve seen this type of behavior at the gym before, as well as at the hair salon. I’m actually a little convinced that some people choose a profession based on the proximity to a mirror. No judgment, I guess, though I do wonder at the depth of an exchange if you can’t stop watching yourself have it.
Anyone do any Zoom toasts with cocktails lately? Boy, those are anticlimactic, aren’t they? They’re meant to be fun, but of course your glasses can’t actually “clink” together, so you all have to say “Cheers!” instead. Unless you touch your glass to the screen, which I’ve tried. I’m here to report that’s about as satisfying as spreading cold butter on bread.
When I Zoom alone, I usually sit on our bed so my dogs can sit beside me (and not be vying for my attention). That means my background is my headboard and pillows, which I’m faintly aware is mildly inappropriate.
I think we’ll agree that the time in your life when you regularly have chats with your girlfriends on a bed ends when you’re no longer a teenager. And the only reason why you have them there in the first place is it’s usually the only piece of furniture you can offer your guests in your childhood bedroom.
Still, I stick with it and no one has made any comments yet.
Not so, however, when William plays sly bartender and remains out of the screen while he fills up my glass of wine. I love picking it up as if nothing has happened and have it appear magically full on the Zoom call. Sometimes he brings in a gin and soda instead. Then my friends say, “Hey … weren’t you drinking …?”
Granted, I love to pick up on continuity errors in movies too. My favorite is how they tried so hard to make Meg Ryan’s hair look consistent frame by frame in “When Harry Met Sally” but, because her hair is so thick and fantastic, it was impossible to recreate the same curls and feathers.
That’s another thing I’ve noticed when Zooming with my girlfriends: how much time you spend talking about things like Meg Ryan’s hair. Or Trader Joe’s jicama wraps and organic watermelon fruit spread. Or succulents and pots for succulents. Or the old, Italian cobbler Tony in Lexington and the exquisiteness of his ancient cash register. I mean, no subject is too small. In fact, every subject is small and carefree and insignificant and, thereby, in the time of COVID, restorative and delicious too.
So I guess, in the end, that’s another reason why I end and begin those chats with a wave. In the world of Zoom, somehow lighthearted seems appropriate.