Friendship in the Age of Zoom

Like many of you, we’ve been keeping in touch with family, friends and work colleagues via Zoom these days.

I’ve had three Zoom happy hours, a bunch of Zoom conference calls and I have a feeling we are just getting started.
Welcome to corona world.
But this isn’t a lament. There’s plenty to lament of course, starting with the death, sickness and economic carnage this damn virus has caused. This is flat awful and extremely scary.
But even in the darkest of times, there are some bright glimmers of the indefatigable human spirit.
For me, the amazing thing about Zoom is we are reminded that we need to see each other’s faces.
It’s not the same as being in the same room but it’s still good to see loved ones. And isn’t it interesting how “seeing” each other via Zoom or FaceTime just feels good. Better than a text or a regular phone call. It’s a reminder that we need to see each other. That’s a very good thing.
I have three standing Zoom calls a week and I look forward to each one.
My first is with colleagues at the office. It’s a brief call to update each other on what we’re doing and how we’re doing. We are trying to move forward with our work projects despite this “situation.”
The second call is a late night happy hour with my childhood buddies scattered across three time zones.
I’ve written before about now fortunate I am to still be in touch with guys I’ve known since I was a first grader. It’s truly amazing. Because these friendships are 50 years old and we still enjoy each other’s company.
We have a guy in Southern California, another in Milwaukee, one in New Jersey and this week a new addition from Arizona.
Hanging out with these guys has been a real morale boost during these scary times.
We talk current events, politics, books, movies, comedians and a whole lot of nonsense. It’s therapeutic. These faces are familiar to me, comforting too. I still see the young guys we once were and I marvel at the men they’ve become.
One of the guys and his wife had the virus and was able to give us a feel for what it’s like. While he recovered nicely, it was a battle. It was somehow comforting to hear about the experience from someone you know and trust.
I’m so glad he recovered. I realize all over again how much I treasure these friendships.
If you’ve been blessed with old friends, now is a good time to reach out to them. Now is a good time to tell them how important they are to you.
I also had a local “happy hour” with some Delray friends whom I also love and treasure.
It was fun to see into their homes and talk to their kids while having wine, sharing laughs and thinking about what’s next for our community.
What will Atlantic Avenue look like? Will rents adjust? Can they?
Which of our local businesses will make it through and which will sadly go away.
The faces on the other end of the line are my local heroes, the men and women who have done so much for this town. They haven’t always been appreciated by the cognoscenti but dear G-d I appreciate them. I love them too.
The onset of this crisis was like a game of musical chairs where all of a sudden the music stops, there’s a scramble to survive and life changes.

But unlike  musical chairs, you can’t just switch the music back on. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were so simple?
But the world is not simple. The ground shifts underneath us, things change and things don’t get put back just so.
Driving Atlantic Avenue today reminds me of the 80s. It’s eerie.
Eventually this situation will lift. We will be able to buy a yogurt without a mask at our favorite ice cream shop on Linton.
But things won’t be the same. Families will lose loved ones in the most painful way imaginable.
Still, the crisis will end. Most of us will make it, but we will be altered by this experience.
I think we will treasure our friends and family more. Just seeing their faces will fill our hearts. Whether in person or on Zoom they will fill our hearts.
Seeing faces we love….never more important t than right about now.
Stay safe.

Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks Jeff.
    As always, I enjoy reading your work and, as always, you inspire me 🙂

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      Thanks Stephanie. Thinking of you during this crazy time. Stay safe. You are so valuable to our community.

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