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.

Secretary of the Cabinet of Astrology – #SoCS

True story written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Conscious Saturday for January 25th. This week’s prompt was:  Last call. Talk about the enterprise (sales or service) conducted by the last phone call you received from a business you’re not associated with (i.e. your workplace), or talk about that phone conversation itself. Have fun!

The phone rang in the middle of the day. I checked the number on the digital screen and it was not a familiar one. It didn’t display the words “Private caller” though, which usually means a telemarketer is waiting on the other end, so I picked up.

“I am the Secretary of the Cabinet of Astrology,” came a melodic female voice in French in an accent I couldn’t quite identify.   An image of an exotic-looking woman with a turban on her head sitting at a table and staring into a crystal ball came to mind. Stereotypical, I know, but that’s what came to mind. This was swiftly followed by the thought ‘Cabinet of Astrology’ – really?  Such a thing  exists?

The woman quickly went on with her pitch:  I am calling to offer you a complementary consultation… ” and then, she actually yawned. I could hear it:  a full intake of breath, followed by the exhale of a great, big yawn.  Afterwards, she didn’t apologize – just started back where she had left off. I was already annoyed at being called at home in the middle of the day to be offered a service that was of no interest to me. But her lack of manners put me over the edge.

In no uncertain terms, I said, “Thank you but we are not interested.” Before I could finish, she interrupted in an aggressive tone, “Madame! Madame, wait for me to finish.” Again, I tried to do the polite thing by repeating “Thank you, but …” Again she interrupted me and that was it for me. I hung up.

Thirty seconds later, the phone rang again. A quick check of the number showed that it was her.  The nerve of the woman!  I didn’t answer and she did not, thankfully,  leave a message. But I was curious, so I googled “Cabinet of Astrology” and what do you think I found?  A web page with dozens of comments from people receiving harassing calls at all times of day, always from the same woman from the same number.

Well, as the saying goes, “I’ve got her number now,” and I won’t be answering any calls from it.

Falling into Clouds

It’s Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and the prompt for today is: “the first 3 words of the first full sentence.”  1. Grab the closest book to you when you sit down to write your post. 2. Open it to a random page. 3. Locate the first complete sentence on that page. 4. Use the first three words of that sentence to start your post, then take it from there–write whatever comes to mind. That’s it! Have fun!

In the looming arrival of consciousness, I keep my eyes tightly shut. When I open them, I see the blue, digital numbers of the clock radio on my night table blinking 5:08 a.m. in the darkness.  I close my eyes, waiting to see if the little gerbil in my mind is running on his exercise wheel this morning, spewing random thoughts and tasks for the day from the spinning wheel. If so, then I know sleep is only wishful thinking and I might as well get up and get going. But, no, he is quiet this morning. I feel peaceful and so close my eyes again and enjoy the warmth of the covers, the softness of the pillows and the calm of the early morning.

Soon after I close my eyes, sleep pulls me gently down, down, down.  It feels like falling into a lake of clouds and I let myself sink deeper and deeper. Amid the haze of mist and fog, come wild dreams that make no sense. They’re not scary, just filled with people I don’t know and stories that have no rhyme or reason.

When my eyes open again it’s 6:15 a.m.  The cat, who seeks warmth, often sleeps at my feet in winter. She jumps down from the bed, landing on the floor with a thud, only to return in a few minutes, purring as she settles back down. “That cat is smart,” I tell myself. “She is telling you to stay in bed. It’s a cold, wet January Saturday and there’s not a reason in the world for you to get up.” So I stay.  And soon enough, I’m drifting off again, back to the land of clouds and sleep-induced hallucinations.