If you had asked me this time last year what Zoom was, I would have looked at you with the most vacant expression I could muster. I sit here today having begun what will, by this coming Friday, culminate in five Zoom sessions in eight days. Amazing, isn’t it, how something brand new can become routine in such a short time?
Zoom seems to have come into its own shortly after the pandemic arrived earlier this year. I suppose our family became most well-acquainted with it when our church moved to online weekly Bible studies. Evelyn and I would sit at the dining room table with the computer in front of us, following the pastor’s lessons from our home United Methodist church in Kenton. The major disadvantage, of course, was not being in contact with other attenders; still, there was something to be said for listening to Pastor Wes’ lessons in the comfort of our home, coffee in hand and slippers on feet.
Then things eased up a bit, and we were allowed to open our churches with certain restrictions. There was no reason to stay home for Sunday morning worship which we had been following on Facebook (besides, as a member of the praise band, I had to be present in the sanctuary anyway).
So, as of last week, I have “attended” one Thursday Bible study, one Zoom surprise birthday party last Sunday for a longtime friend, and another Zoom “visit” yesterday (Dec. 7th) with two college buds with whom I played in a little combo we formed in college called The Boys Next Door. This Thursday will be the next Zoom Bible study, and the next day, Friday, the 11th, will be a Zoom visit with the three other fellows who, with me, made up the former TV Ministry Team for the So. NJ Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Zoom has quickly become as much a part of daily life as television and telephones.
I suppose it’s only right to acknowledge Skype, which, technologically, was the predecessor to Zoom. They each provided a way to connect people, not just audibly, but also visually, and for free. Before the phone companies dropped charges for individual long-distance calls, Skype was a terrific way not only to bypass those charges, but to enjoy seeing one another as well. If I’m not mistaken, you could only Skype one person at a time (I may be mistaken about that), whereas Zoom apparently has the ability to join an unlimited number of participants together (check out “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and see how many people are shown on those large studio screens).
For me, the Zoom advantage is in reconnecting with people I haven’t seen for (in some cases) years. It’s like a mini-reunion. And we don’t have to travel to meet. Except for not being able to see one another in three dimensions, we still have the advantage of seeing and hearing – the next best thing to being there as I see it.
When I began this blog I had intended to say how much fun my Zoom “visit” with The Boys Next Door was, but if I keep going in the direction I seem to have gone, this could turn into an unpaid endorsement for Zoom! So let me just say how great it is that old dogs like me can adapt to certain new technologies fairly quickly, and then give thanks for those technologies which, when used properly, can offer wonderful means for staying connected.
By the way – the visits with my friend who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, as well as yesterday’s visit with The Boys Next Door could not have been more enjoyable. Under the circumstances.