The Zoom Zoom Room


‘Connecting in the Time of Corona’

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning these days. No, it’s not from the craziness of the News Cycle — though the suggestion of ingesting bleach or zapping the inside of my body with “light” is rather mind-boggling — no, my noggin is spinning from all that Zooming.

I’ve been Zooming (or FaceTiming or Facebook Messengering) with West Coast Cousins of The Dude, members of my New York City Ladies’ Club, the Curator of the Frick Museum, and even Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah. (I’ve already written, in “Apocalypse Now,” about Zooming with John Krasinski.

Why, the whole Earth is zooming! (Thanks, New Yorker)

And that was just this week. It’s kind of funny, actually (if anything about this Corona Crisis can be funny), but I’ve been feeling more connected than ever during these weeks of isolation.

Somehow I thought that isolation would be more, well, isolating. But, as it turns out, I’ve got my coffee with the ladies on Mondays, my art lecture on Tuesdays, my Family FaceTime on Wednesdays. And this week, I’ve added a Cocktail Hour with my Bridge Buddies on Thursday. I hardly have time for those endless hours of curled-up-in-a-big-chair-under-an-afghan reading I’d pictured myself doing.

I have, however, found plenty of time to knit. Turns out I can do it while Zooming

Why, if I wanted to, I could be Zooming every single day — and not just once. I’ve turned down Zoom Bridge and Zoom Birdwatching and even a Zoom Birthday Party. Why, a girl’s gotta make time for her new Best Friend:

I have forged an intimate and satisfying relationship with my Garland Range

I’ve written enough already about Cooking in the Time of Corona. There’s some funny stuff — and great recipes — in last week’s “Pots and Pandemics”, in case you missed it. Oh, that pork shoulder calas? Let’s just say that tonight I’m back to chicken thighs. Specifically, NY Times Cooking’s “Sheet-Pan Chicken with Jammy Tomatoes and Pancetta,” only I’m using bacon, “pancetta” being a bit frou-frou for this Midwestern Gal. (Besides, if my IGA doesn’t have TP, I doubt it’ll have pancetta.)

Back when kitchens had people in them, and not just bacon

My favorite Zoomarific weekly activity is the aforementioned Family FaceTime. Every Wednesday, at 10 AM PDT, all five of us Henry sibs get on the virtual horn to our mother. (You can see us — all of us, divvied up like Hollywood Squares — in the photo at the top of this story.)

Mom lives alone and has been sheltering safely in her Oregon apartment ever since This Nonsense began. Mom has fantastic, caring neighbors who get her mail, run her errands and bring her goodies. But still: she is alone and has been alone for what seems like a century now.

We spend about an hour on our Zoomy call, sharing our experiences and fears, showing off our pets, looking out each other’s windows. It’s not like actually being together, certainly. But we live so far apart — New York, California, Maine, Washington, Illinois — that being “together” once a week is the most we kids have seen or talked to each other in, well, years.

A non-virtual moment from our last non-virtual get-together: Mom’s 90th birthday party last October

Speaking of Family, there is an exception in my Inner Circle to the Zooming Craze, and that’s The Child. She’s not that into FaceTiming or Zooming, maybe because she has to do it so much for work. But she has graduated from texting to talking. That’s right — The Child calls us up to speak to us. And this is a person so unfamiliar with talking on the phone that she had no idea what to do with a dial on an old phone we found in a closet. Seriously. You can read about it in “Touch M for Murder.”

FaceTiming in the Olden Days: Thanksgiving 2013, when The Child was studying Across the Pond. Gosh, maybe this was Skyping. Remember Skype?

So gosh. I guess if there is a silver lining in the Corona Cloud, it would be this new craving for connection. And, even though it’s virtual, I’ll take it. For the time being, that is. I hereby make a resolution to get on an actual plane so I can make an actual visit to my actual mother — as soon as Dr. Fauci says I can.

Amagansett, New York. April 2020


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6 thoughts on “The Zoom Zoom Room

  1. Right! It took this pandemic for my West Coast bro, sis, and I to realize we could talk–all three of us–while looking at each other, at least virtually. Silver lining indeed! But, I have to say, the Zoom choir rehearsal doesn’t work so well–too many lags to sing as one!

    • Ah, the Zoom Choir Rehearsal! That WOULD be a challenge! My Oldest Younger Brother Scott is in a band called Bad Neighbor (there’s a story there) He says it’s virtually impossible for them to play together, same reason. To avoid the lag, they play separately, then combine. Easier said than done!

  2. Colleen Bentley

    I’ve been Zooming a lot lately too — with my sibs usually at the cocktail hour, and then with high school gal pals, and then other gal pals – whew! We did one with my mom in her assisted living place a week ago, and we are going to try it again this week – can’t wait to see her face! Cheers to all the Henrys!

  3. Todd

    Amazing how much you and Laura look like your mom and Roger, Scott and Doug resemble your Dad. Tell them I said Hi.

    Stay Healthy!

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