Life in a virtual world

Me, waiting for the hair salon to open

Two months into semi-quarantine, and it’s impossible to ignore the changes around us. Including my hair color.

Recently, I stopped fondling the broccoli at my grocery store and took a moment to look at the people around me. Everyone was wearing a mask. If anyone had asked us in February to predict this change, we would have shaken our heads and hurried to escape  from the person asking the question.

Another change is the number of outdoor exercisers, especially since temperatures have been warming. In my neighborhood, people who used to exercise at work or in a gym are pounding the pavement; hurling balls and frisbees across playfields, primarily, to force their dogs to move; and kicking soccer balls against baseball backstops.

Given our state’s plan for a measured reopening, which calls for seniors to stay home until the last phase (the plan’s last phase, not seniors’ last phase), I have come to revere the creators of Zoom. For many groups of people, those who work in offices and those who have retired from jobs in offices, life has become less cloistered thanks to videoconferencing.

Like everyone, I’m missing our spending time face-to-face with friends. Still, thanks to Zoom, the mere fact that life can become virtually semi-normal at this time is a boon.

Before quarantining, my husband and I took a class called “chair yoga.” It’s like regular yoga, except that we can grab hold of the chair, whenever our tree pose starts to resemble a birch in a windstorm. Now we take chair yoga from the same instructor via Zoom.

Then there are the board meetings via Zoom.  Business-like and professional, I’ve noted only one person sipping wine. And the two writing classes I’ve taken. Both so good I plan to sign up for a longer course this summer. Even the book group at my library, which hasn’t met for several months, will soon re-Zoom.

My writers’ critique group is a stunning example of the benefits of meeting on-line. When we met in person, we ate together, discussed the food, and interrupted the meeting to go to the kitchen for seconds, offer dessert or pass the wine. Our critiques are much stronger now that we can still eat and Zoom, but different meals in different places.

Then there’s my fun Zoom gathering with long-time friends.  It’s more casual than all the others, as in the question someone asked at our last session. “Roberta, are you wearing your bathrobe?”

This bit of news is not something that occurred to me, but I read an article in The New Yorker about videoconferencing “changing the dating game for the better.” Apparently, singles are having serious conversations and getting to know each other before sleeping together.

Nine years after retirement, I’m still compulsive about completing projects. Part of my attraction to videoconferencing is that now, I can engage in multiple projects, including the second draft of my novel, and never have to spend hours sitting in traffic or waiting for a bus. And I can keep in touch with many people along the way. I believe videoconferencing will be essential if we seniors are to have any kind of social life over the next few months.

The one service I can’t get on Zoom is one that involves changing my hair color.  My last appointment was in February.  Tentatively, my next one is June 2, and if the salon is open, my appointment will not be virtual.





About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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5 Responses to Life in a virtual world

  1. Karen Clark says:

    Very good!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Claudia Randle says:

    Great column Ann. At least my hair color is now natural (gray with dark undertones) and looks better than no hair after I had chemo last year! My appointment at the hair salon is June 10 in Bellevue with the lady who has cut, colored and styled my hair for 30+ years.

  3. Eleanor says:

    Yes, yes, yes. ZOOM is making virtual visits seem normal. And if you’re really worried about your hair, I understand that barber shops have been given the OK to open. Just tag along with your spouse.

  4. Darlene says:

    Again, Ann—you nailed it. So glad you continue your blogging with insight and humor. I always look forward to what you have to say. Still waiting to read one of your books!!

  5. travelnwrite says:

    Nine years AFTER retirement?!?!?!? How well I remember that coffee chat at Starbucks with the overworked PR person who feared not having enough to do in retirement. . . of losing her world. . .yup, remember that meeting (face to face back then) well. . . .

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