The magic of Zoom!

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Today’s prompt is the word:  welcome.

I’m an introvert but not a hermit. Still, it came as a bit of an unwelcome surprise when only four days into working from home, I began to miss my routine.  Yes, that routine that I so often gripe about. You know the one:  Wake up, make coffee, hop into the shower, dry your hair, iron a blouse, pack your lunch, have breakfast, get in the car and drive to work. I could and should do the lunch and ironing part in advance, especially since I’m a born planner, but years of having to do it for both myself and my kids in the past have made me rebel against this.

Day one, I felt a sense of freedom. I woke up later than usual and then did my home workout during the time usually spent driving to work. By 8:30 am, I was at my computer and ready to face the day. Day two was similar but the sense of novelty was already wearing thin. On Day three, the isolation of my home office in the basement began to make itself known, even while my husband worked in his own office upstairs. I moved my computer from my office to the kitchen table where natural daylight streams into the room. My colleagues and I stayed in touch by email and by phone. But, none them stopped by while on their way to the photocopier; we didn’t gather in the lunchroom while we ate our mid-day meal or meet up at the coffee maker.

Then on Day Four, we all attended a meeting through the magic of Zoom video conferencing.  We had just bought it the week before to offer remote activities to our clientele. Our boss configured it and boom!  All our smiling faces were visible on each of our home computer screens. “Are you still in pyjamas?” someone asked me because the fleece around the neck of the hoodie I was wearing makes it look like a housecoat. “I don’t wear pyjamas,” I quipped (I was kidding) but it was so nice to hear their laughter.  After a few minutes of exchanging updates, we got down to business but it was a welcome break to the social distancing I am finding harder than I thought it would be.

Don’t invite me, but don’t judge me either.

Linda G. Hill has assigned us the word “social” for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. Ha! I may not be the best person to write about being social, but here is my two cents worth.

Don’t invite me if you don’t want to, but don’t judge me either. I’m choosy about my social activities. Will there be people I know and like there? Or will we be doing an activity I enjoy? Because what’s the point of going out with people you have little in common with or doing something that’s not fun for you if you don’t have to?

I recharge by withdrawing into isolation and silence. Don’t get me wrong – I love my family, friends and co-workers, but need regular doses of “me time” to sit, walk, read or just reflect. I don’t tell many people that, though, because society places a higher value on the gregarious, outgoing person who hops from one social gathering to another effortlessly.

She never has trouble starting or participating in a conversation. She always looks confident and completely comfortable in any situation. She smiles and laughs a lot. She can talk about almost any topic that comes up (though I suspect she knows just enough about a lot of things to keep the conversation going and is well-versed in only a few things. Kind of like the rest of us normal human beings). It’s exhausting just to watch her.

So, don’t invite me again if you think I’m a drag; but please don’t judge my choices.



Warning: Pet Peeve Ahead

You want my business but won’t talk to me? I don’t think so. And this is coming from an introvert, someone who chooses her words very carefully.

I know the Yellow Pages and 411 operators have mostly gone the way of the dinosaur so, of course, I “google” to find businesses and services I need. I’m with the program, so far. But I draw the line at the way some of these businesses choose to make contact with potential customers.

I was on a company’s website recently and was interested in their service offer. I clicked on the “Contact Us” tab and what do I get? A pop-up form to fill out so they can get back to me … at their convenience, I assume. No phone number, no e-mail address, no street address.

Wait – what? You want my business but you won’t take my call? You don’t even have a generic “info@yourbusinessname”  e-mail address where I can at least feel as if I have a way of reaching you? I left that Web site so fast my poor mouse was dizzy. 

I know that even if there had been a phone number, chances are I wouldn’t reach a real person. Voicemail has, for the most part, replaced first-touch human contact. It’s not always great – think:  To reach Accounts Payable, press 1; to reach Customer Service, press 2; to leave a message, press 3; for our contact information, press 4; for all other information, please stay on the line and an operator will be with you shortly.  Cue elevator music.  Still, it’s a compromise I’m ready to make; at least I’d know I left a message on a specific day or time and should expect a call back in a reasonable delay.

But a a pop-up web form where you have my contact information and I have none of yours means you’re holding all the cards.  I don’t want to sit around like a lovesick teenager wondering when you will call. More importantly, it makes me think that you don’t care about my business.  So call me old-school, but I’ll keep doing business with companies who  act like they want my business.

Do you share this pet peeve or have another to air?  Or if your business operates this way I’d love to hear the rationale behind it!