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At which point my mind fills with images of several hundred faces all battling for space on a laptop screen. When one of them speaks, their image is highlighted. No one registers any pain at the discomfort of it all, and, course, no one needs to wear a mask; physical distancing in this case involves thousands of miles.
I belonged to one of these “Zoomeries” once, and I hope, still do: a group of ex-colleagues in journalism who, in normal times, meet loquaciously every Friday morning at a local eatery, over an enormous breakfast consisting of two fried eggs, some sausages, at least three strips of bacon, hash browns and a dash of baked beans.
Conversation, however, has always been the main course. Newsroom reminiscences flit through fondly remembered characters, unlikely scoops and weird newspaper promotions that didn’t quite make it. Sheer entertainment. On an off-day, we would rudely contemplate a certain U.S. president.
When COVID-19 came along, an in-person breakfast meeting was no more, But being technically savvy, the group met from their homes, steered by a colleague who knew where to take them: Zoom. They still chat (my inbox serves up a regular invitation), in front of their well-stocked bookcases or other backgrounds. I tried to join them, but to no one’s surprise, failed.
But not entirely, one should hurriedly add. I have a wide-apart family: a son in California, a daughter in Edmonton and another in Aylmer. We used to visit them all regularly, but no more. Now it is Zoom or nothing. Aylmer comes in for dinner once a week and sets up the old reactionaries for a one-hour chat. I am now an official Zoomer.