Okay, people. It’s 2023, not 2019. I would have been much more patient and understanding four years ago. But here we are, having had over three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and we should be further along. Please. Let’s just start the Zoom already.
In 2019, virtual meetings were something that only high-tech fancy people and millennials knew how to do. Then, coronapocalypse hit, and we were all forced to learn Zoom and WebEx and Teams if we wanted to get business done or see our elderly relatives. It was a steep learning curve. I came across lots of folks who had been completely dependent on their administrative assistants to take care of all technical details – including dialing the phone – and these people really suffered. Learning not only how to mute and unmute themselves on a Zoom meeting, but how to log on to the Zoom meeting without assistance took a lot of teaching and time.
But we did it. Sort of.
Here we are, over three years later, and I still seem to be spending the first fifteen minutes of every Zoom meeting trying to describe to some other participant how to turn on their camera or activate their microphone. In every meeting there is someone who has logged on twice somehow, and can’t seem to figure out that they are the cause of the feedback and echo. Someone doesn’t mute to take a phone call. We can only see the top of someone else’s head. And heaven forbid someone has to share their screen with the group.
I get it – all of us over fifty didn’t grow up with technology. I used a typewriter all through college and didn’t get my first email account until I was out of law school. When my kids learned that YouTube didn’t exist until I was thirty-five – and that both of them had already been born—they lost their minds. How did I learn how to do anything without YouTube? How did I get anywhere without GPS? My father believes deep in his soul that requiring something to be done on-line is a form of age discrimination.
But here’s the thing: adapt or die. We are living in a virtual world. We’ve all figured out that none of us have to spend hours in the car burning gas and wasting time if we can sit at our desks and meet virtually. Affinity groups don’t have to remain local. Yes, yes, I know. There’s value in meeting in person. It’s hard to forge a personal relationship via Zoom. But it’s also hard to form a personal relationship if you don’t have time because you’ve spent six hours sitting in traffic. I can lay eyes on my children all the time, even though they both went to college 800 miles away from me. Back in my day, I called my parents once a week, all of us highly aware of the twenty-five cents a minute long distance charge that was building up. I kept in touch with my high school friends via actual hand-written letter, same way they did in the 1800s.
Maybe I should be more patient. Adjustment is hard. Change is hard. But every time I have to say (again) “click on the little green box dead center on the bottom” then “no, the green box” I want to vote someone off the virtual island. You’ve had three or more years to figure this out, I can’t wait another three minutes. I’m only middle aged if I live to 104. Time is fleeting and I’m feeling the pressure of mortality not to waste any of it.
So let’s review: the mute button is bottom left. If there’s a line through it, no one can hear what you’re saying. If there isn’t a line, everyone can. If we can all get on board just with that one skill….
 Answer: books, trial-and-error, asking someone.
 Answer: maps, taping turn by turn directions to the steering wheel, stopping and asking for directions at gas stations.
 I pointed out that he is only six years older than Steve Wozniak and eleven years older than Bill Gates, but that argument did not prove compelling.
 And in different directions – my son is in Houston, my daughter is in Philadelphia.
 Get off my lawn
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.