Don’t you dare invite me to your stupid Zoom party on lockdown

Everybody’s saying it: “I’m more busy than I’ve ever been!”

That exasperated complaint would seem to contradict our current hostage situation, with many citizens only being allowed to leave home for essential groceries, masked strolls and doctor appointments. And yet, while we’re stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, our daily duties have tripled.

We do office work while entertaining the kids, make dinner as we’re on never-ending hold with the unemployment office, drink sauv blanc and contemplate our own existential dread. All of these activities are, in their own ways, quite draining.

Why then must we pile on? Somehow, although our social lives have never been more sedentary, our social calendars have never been more stuffed, because the events we typically enjoy in person have all gone virtual. It’s a tedious trend that needs to stop.

Recently, a friend was invited to a murder mystery party on Zoom. That is a string of words that brings on a Pavlovian urge to drop a cinderblock on my own head. Whose idea of fun is this?

Nobody’s, but we’ve created a monster.

For the first couple of weeks of lockdown, Zoom was the biggest novelty of the novel coronavirus. FaceTime never took off like Apple thought it would, but in quarantine, a previously unknown app became as commonplace as Xerox or Kleenex. Zoom still comes in handy for seeing good friends, the occasional work meeting and supporting live performers, but its purpose has mutated beyond our control. Now, we’re told, we must bow to the Great God Zoom.

I’ve been invited to virtual theater galas, film premieres and award shows. Digital DJ dance parties where you flail around like a moron in your studio apartment have become the norm, as have one of our era’s greatest Catch-22s — online orgies.

I was set to interview a film actor for a profile earlier this month, and the organizer told me I was to arrive at the “virtual hospitality suite” half an hour before the chat. Excuse me? Such punctuality makes sense when you’re up against the West Side Highway or an unreliable MTA, but at home it’s 30 minutes you’ll never get back. Also, “virtual hospitality suite”? I’m still waiting for my virtual Diet Coke.

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo hopped on the Internet bandwidth bandwagon by announcing his Quixotic dream to “reimagine” in-person education with the help of Bill Gates.

“The old model of our education system where everyone sits in a classroom is not going to work in the new normal,” Cuomo said. “And you do that all across the city, all across the state, all these buildings, all these physical classrooms.”

“Why? With all the technology you have?”

The guv loves a rhetorical question, but rarely offers one so oblivious. Because humans need to be near other humans — to clearly communicate, empathize, laugh, learn, love, have fun. If you don’t get that, you’re a robot. Screens are nothing more than a quick fix.

If you’re like me, you’ve reached the point of resignation: The activities we love most will come back when they come back, that is, if they come back. A party that would have been held at the Plaza hotel cannot be relocated to Zoom, and a spontaneous, drunken bit of handsy dancing at 3 a.m. can’t be joined via a Gmail link. What started out as a balm for the bored has become a publicity stunt; a grasp at relevance. But most of us are willing to wait for the real McCoy, and will wholeheartedly support it then.

See you soon . . . offline.

Source: Read Full Article