Lockdown Diaries: Insanity and Desperation Over Zoom Meetings.
It occured to me the other day while on my 498th? web conference that there is a growing culture of people designing backgrounds to make themselves look well read and educated. In fact, books have even seen an uptick in sales, from what I was told by a friend. It's quite funny that in a world where all of us have to lockdown inside our homes we still dress up suits and make sure that our peers see a "professional" working environment around us. We do this while sitting at laptops or tablets or whatever your prefered device is for audio-video communication. We are talking into our computers. The same could be said about the telephone, and how there is a culture that comes along with it, things like leaving your name and number in a message or answering the phone with a "This John Doe speaking" but the culture of zoom meetings has led me to believe that the majority of us are slowly losing it. Everyone knows you haven't read "The Complete Works of Plato" or "War and Peace". Yet owning and displaying those items is a sign of intellectual bravado in a world where having a nicer car or more expensive fashion accessories than your coworker just wont do it anymore. We have this urge to somehow show that we're holding it together during a crisis, in an extreme twist of irony, the people who put more effort into their zoom offices are the ones who are clearly struggling. Yes, we know, your diplomas, degrees, and books are all there but are those really the things you want the world to see? Are those the things that define you? Shouldn't your presence and general demeanor be enough? I take some sort of personal enjoyment in watching the different forms of insanity that break out. Like that one guy from the New York Times masturbating during a meeting. That's the most human moment i've seen from one these pre-planned presentations. So what are we to do? At least where I live, variants and the threat of community spread has us isolated and locked down. Only "essential" workers can go to their offices or job-sites, and god help you if you want to decide if you're an essential worker. We have an entire generation of children learning how to read from strangers on iPads, people celebrating their birthdays alone in a Condo drinking vodka cocktails alone while others do the same, but watch each other do it over their laptops. What the fuck is all this and how did we get here? I can't even go grocery shopping without feeling an immense sense of anxiety because of how conditioned i've become that other humans are plague spreaders. Avoid every button, wash my hands after touching any public object, and make sure I make sure I "stay safe!". God what an annoying fad that's become. "Stay safe guys!", what does that even mean? Has this virus evolved into a flesh eating reptile that preys on people who don't wear masks or wash their hands? Why am I so scared to get a common cold? All these questions, yet no answers. I know that i'm mentally not well, but I have the self awareness to acknowledge that fact, a year of existential fear for yourself and your family tends to lead to stress, to say the least. What about everyone else? There's a feeling in the air, I can't quite describe but it's almost like everyone is just trying to hold it together. The cracks are starting to show though, how long can we stay locked up before we collectively choose to be free or die? The medical experts tout tricks and tips for dealing with a lockdown, but I know i'm not the only one who wants to smash my fucking monitor against the wall when I'm looking down the barrel of 5 hours of zoom meetings. Unfortunately if I did such a thing it might destroy my succulents, bookshelf of history and philosophy books, my framed degree and of course a picture of my family.
They say hard times make hard people, but do strange times make strange people? Because I see scared and weird people, not hard. What will this look like when its all done, this collective trauma. What a fucking idea, all I know is fuck your books and your plants. I'd rather watch that guy masturbate than you do the moral equivalent of showing your superiority by owning a bunch of dusty reading material and a picture of your kid who wont shut the fuck up down the hall. Maybe i'm alone, but it feels like insanity and desperation have taken over the zeitgeist, and to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, when the going gets insane, the insane get professional.