On Zoom Attendees and Meeting Chaos
This weekend I attended a professional writers’ zoom meeting where the invited speaker got annoyed and left early. And abruptly. I wasn’t surprised, but apparently the rest of the attendees were stunned.
There were two major reasons why our speaker left: rudeness and attention grabbing. Well, there’s a third if you count the moderator letting attendees divert the program.
We need a refresher course on meeting politeness and etiquette, especially on Zoom. I talk too often and much, so I’m just as guilty as the rest.
I’ve noticed the rebirth of a few meeting personalities in Zoom. First is The Eater. Actual in-person meetings usually make this impractical, but Zoom seems to give license to participate while sitting in a restaurant. We don’t need to see video of people wolfing down messy food, y’all. Turn off the video.
Secondly is Phillip/ Phillipa. Phillipa takes over meetings and pushes the speaker aside. She’s full of great personal stories and can’t seem to stop interrupting. An otherwise nice person, no one wants to tell her to stop or that she’s being rude. My most cringeworthy experience with a Phillipa was in a virtual workshop on writing erotica. We aren’t there for Philippa’s stories, but she holds us hostage. Asking everyone to hold their questions to the end works for 99% of attendees, but Phillipa just HAS to share another interesting story. Or mansplain.
These are the two worst. I often act like an attention seeking teen in Zoom, so my hands aren’t clean either, but next time I’ll be better.
Moderators’ jobs aren’t easy, but just like circus ringmasters, they can keep things from devolving into chaos.
Wanderlust On Hold
My husband and I own a spiffy travel trailer I nicknamed LoulaBelle. Since the Pandemic started in March, we’ve only taken her out once, and that was relatively close by to a park in Bastrop, Texas. Otherwise we check on her periodically, make sure she’s still there, not leaking anything, and letting her feel less abandoned. We’ve had some great adventures with her.
Last September we were supposed to take another Viking River cruise in France. Of course the Pandemic put the kibosh on that. We hunger to travel yet are toeing the line by staying home and not straying further than grocery pickup or the gas station. The relief when we pull out of the driveway is palpable. I feel like that pig with the pinwheels in the insurance commercial and want to go wheeeeeee all the way to H-E-B. Only the threat of defrosting food keeps us from going AWOL. Things got so intense last Fall we went house hunting and had an offer accepted in a little town east of here, where our church is situated. Lucky for us that the sellers were greedy and unconcerned with major safety issues. So we stayed put, literally, and had a house that literally weathered the massive snow storm that rocked Texas. Weathered it well.
Back to the real world. We double our facemasks when we go out, listening to Dr. Fauci, and hoping to make it to our Covid-19 vaccination appointments without getting sick with it. It seems we’re just marking time until this horrific thing is over. Life on hold at our age is not a pretty prospect. Yet here we are.
I look longingly at our pictures to Bordeaux in 2018, the river views, views from medieval towns, of lazy orange cats watching a marketplace square with tourists walking by, of dinners on board with non Pasteurized French cheeses that must be the true food of the gods, of wines, port, and other delicious libations. Of lovely little shops with windows filled with whimsical chocolate mice and other creatures. An arcade in Bordeaux lined with tiny shops, including one with hats. I came away with three from there.
For now I celebrate our being well. Of being able to stay home. Of my children safe where they live in the West and East. Of my father-in-law and my husband’s extended family safe.
The snows melted here, the sun’s shining like it’s already spring. My flower bulbs survived the snow and ice and are perkily raising their leaves up in supplication to the azure sky. I think my new trees and the contents of my mini greenhouse are dead, but we can deal with that later.
And yet. Like others my brain is filled with a fog of the weather and Pandemics making. The other day it grew so foggy I missed a wonderful Zoom Sisters In Crime chapter’s short story workshop. I watched helplessly while lips moved and the presentation moved on. The solution came too late, and it was ridiculously easy, and my fault completely. Oh well. Hopefully there will be plenty of Zoom workshops, of visiting with friends and church. Of FaceTime and awkward video of people smushing into the camera’s view.
Our wanderlust is banked like fire for the night, for the future. For now it’s enough to dream, plan, and cocoon.
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