May 26, 2021

my kindergarten-like zoom behavoir

I joined a writing group about 2 years ago, so I know most of those who attend. Last night we had a zoom. It wasn't my turn to share. I listened and provided feedback. These writers blow me away with their talent. We all stay muted until it's our turn to critique. One time this woman kept hollering to someone in her kitchen asking them "HEY, what else you got to eat?" while unmuted and chewing loudly. This went on while some poor soul was TRYING to read his pages. Otherwise, we've been incident free. 

Until, I tried something new. 

Curly didn't want to get to dancing 30 minutes early so that I could be on time to my zoom. I said, HEY, I'LL JUST ZOOM FROM MY CAR WITH MY CAMERA OFF. I JUST NEED TO LISTEN. 

I was almost home. I had my phone in my lap and connected to the zoom at a stop light. I checked to see that my camera was off. Initially people were giving instructions to help an older gent named Lee share his screen. 

Just before Lee read, someone asked if they could hear that sound. "IT SOUNDS LIKE AN AQUARIUM. ANYONE ELSE HEAR THAT?" 


I looked down and realized my mic was on. The humming of my car was making everyone believe they were underwater in an aquarium. I muted myself, and they all said:  OH, IT WENT AWAY.

Then I unmuted myself and fessed up, never having zoomed from my phone while driving- I didn't realize I was unmuted. All was forgiven. 

When I got home, I tried to sign in from my desktop. The admin guy didn't see me in the waiting room. I decided to type something in the zoom's chat.

The zoom experience looks different from a phone. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. I touched a pen symbol on the screen. Thinking, that's how you start typing in the chat. Nothing seemed to happen, so I sort of swiped my fingers across the screen. 

Um. I was in drawing mode, apparently. Translation:  I drew red streaks across this guy's page AS HE WAS READING like I was an angry kindergartner and he was only letting me use the red crayon. The shame. 

He stopped reading, or in actuality I fear that my red scratches froze him momentarily . . . but I'm trying not to think about that. When he was unfrozen, he said with a chuckle:  LOOKS LIKE SOMEONE DOESN'T LIKE WHAT I WROTE. 

I gasped so loudly that even though I was muted they probably heard me. I didn't realize that THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GROUP COULD SEE MY RED LINES. I THOUGHT IT WAS ONLY ON MY PHONE SCREEN. 

The red scribbles remained on the screen the
entire time he read and scrolled through his work.
So distracting.

I hit the erase button, but I think I would've had to swipe at the random stripes on the screen to erase it and I was too chicken-shit to embarrass myself further.

Lee is a good guy with a sense of humor. Thank goodness. When he was done reading, I held my hand up to be the first to praise his writing. First I cleared the air:  IT WAS ME THAT SCRIBBLED ON YOUR PAGE. I'M SO SORRY, LEE. I WAS TRYING TO USE THE CHAT BUTTON. THIS IS WHY I SHOULDN'T BE TRUSTED WITH TECHONOLGY. 

I will email him to apologize for my kindergartener tendencies. 

Mini snuck into the study towards the end of the video chat. She likes to listen to what people read and likes to know who's who. Larry's my favorites, not because he is over the moon about my writing. He's honest, direct, and well spoken. He'll be 85 Wednesday. So, she asked if Larry contributed anything, etc. 

There was a new guy, who was using a blackout screen so we couldn't see his background - I think that's what it's called. Anyway, it produced a weird shadowy effect. He looked dark and mysterious and parts of him disappeared when he moved as his screen sort of swallowed him or pixelated him. 

I kept my hand over my mouth whenever I explained something to Mini, who was off screen, so people wouldn't think I wasn't paying attention. I read all the submitted work in advance, so I wasn't missing anything. 

Mini: You don't have to whisper. You're muted. 

Me:  Yes, I know, but I live in fear of being unmuted and not realizing it.

Mini:  Really? Tell me about it, that sums up my entire school year pandemic experience. 

I hid my face from the group members, because I was dying laughing. Now I know a bit about what it means to be a teenager in 2021. I still don't get snapchat and sliding up and being left unopened. Baby steps. 

Anyone else still zooming? Getting the hang of zooming? Any major mistakes while unmuted?  Scribbled on anyone's page? 

*I plan to post again on Tuesday, since Monday is a holiday here. Enjoy your weekend whether it is long or not.


Martha said...

This had me cracking up and no I do not and will not go on zoom, especially after reading this - it's everything I was afraid of to begin with!

Ally Bean said...

I'm laughing here because I so relate to what you did, how you did it, what you meant to do, and the shame that comes from being less than knowledgeable about all these darned zoom/phone/techie things. But to mess up with a red crayon is the gold standard of screwing up. Well done.

Kari said...

So I am one of the fortunate people who made it through 2020 without having to use Zoom. BUT I can relate to what you are saying because that's exactly what would happen to me!

How is your writing class? I'm glad you're still taking it!

Ernie said...

Martha - I still remember my first zoom and how much help I needed from my offspring to join. I've made so much progress, but yet I still suck. It was comedic.

Ernie said...

Ally - You got it exactly: "mess up with a red crayon is the gold standard of screwing up." I laughed so much at your comment that Mini insisted I explain myself. I did once color on another girl's paper as a preschooler, because she colored on mine first. When I was getting in trouble I suddenly recognized that admitting my vengeful behavior was only going to me in bigger trouble. So, I stood there quiet as a mouse. This 'oops' took me back.

Ernie said...

Kari - I marvel at your managing to avoid zoom. It's become a regular companion of mine . . . and yet, I still screw it up. I use it for my college book club, doctor visits, and my writing group. I'm glad to know that I am in good company and that you and I would both be zoom flunkies together.

My writing group is not a class. This is a group of writers who meet twice a month to share 3,500 words of our manuscript in order to get feedback. I used to go in person, but the zoom option has been dreamy to keep me involved in the critique process. I've gotten great feedback and excellent suggestions from these people. Lucky to have found them.

Gigi said...

I haven't really zoomed - The Husband and his family will occasionally zoom - and I keep getting called on to play IT. The problem is I don't use it, so I'm not sure how it works! We use Teams at work and that is simple and pretty intuitive.

The red crayon marks! That was priceless.

Ernie said...

Gigi- I think if it had been one of my first meetings with this group I would have signed off and slunk away, never to return. Fortunately, I know most of them at this point so I assume we will joke about it occasionally.

My siblings did a few holiday zooms but my brother allowed his kids to all use their own device and the kids would do stuff that interrupted our attempts at conversation. It was more irritating than enjoyable, but there you go . . . family.

Pat Birnie said...

This is hilarious! I have been using zoom for years for team training and have been on it almost daily since....well, you know, we stopped meeting in person. So as familiar with it as I am, I did not know about the red crayon! I am going to look for it and have some fun.

My eldest sister’s husband died just prior to Covid so I set up a a weekly zoom cocktail hour for the 5 siblings. It’s been great and we feel it’s helped her not be as lonely. My two oldest sisters are in their 70’s and not techie at all so we have had some laughs with their earlier attempts to join. One of them has frequently joined from multiple devices, iPad, laptop... that does NOT work out well.

Ernie said...

Pat - I did find it quite entertaining, but I admit that I was anxious for him to finish reading so I could admit to my mishap with the red ink. Slightly embarrassing, but being from a big family myself, I can laugh at myself. Usually.

Those family zooms sound fun - well, more fun than our attempt at family zooms. Coach and I sometimes zoom for meetings and when he has to hop to his phone in order to drive to work while listening in to the meeting, it gets very echo-ie.

angie said...

I’ve done Zoom and MS Teams. I have to use Teams for school but Zoom is much easier. It’s all a mess. The best story is I was watching our school’s PTo meeting on Zoom and the all of a sudden hardcore pornography pops up! It made me squeal and jump up. My husband thought I’d seen a mouse. Oh it was much worse. The poor lady who was hosting was mortified. I thought that’s why we’re stuck on Teams!

Ernie said...

Angie - We've done teams before - we have a teams meeting. Porno - NOOO! That's awful. One of my high school kids was in a zoom in the fall and a kid from another school flashed everyone. The principal sent out a message instructing kids to not share their zoom links. Back in early 2020 who would've thought of all the things that were facing us in these interesting pandemic years? Nuts.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Hahaha, this made me laugh. I didn't even know you could be in draw mode. Well, good to know. Once I was teaching via zoom and I didn't realize one of my seniors was unmuted until her husband came home and loudly started talking to her "oh are you doing yoga? What are we having for dinner?" and then during savasana another woman was unmuted and her doorbell rang and her dog started going nuts. Whoops.

Anonymous said...

I've done Zoom meetings for both work and personal purposes.

For work, it was pretty doable as long as my younger child stayed out of the room. She kept coming in, though, and very justifiably started getting upset when I was putting her off over and over because of 6+ hours of daily back-to-back meetings. Zoom was fine, but parenting and working at the same time wasn't. I stopped working and am mainly hoping that I'll be able to be hired again in the future. I was considered to be a strong resource and I've been told that I'm wanted back. I hope that's true.

For personal use, my family had to do several group meetings about our mother, who landed in the hospital and then in physical rehab last fall/winter. We adult kids span 3 time zones. Zoom let us discuss decisions and problems in a better way than we could have without it. We've had two family meetings since she's returned to her home even. Her at-home setup isn't working as well as it used to, plus we discovered that phone solicitors had led her into some questionable financial decisions prior to her hospitalization. (We're lucky out-and-out scammers hadn't gotten ahold of her, but--she's more easily led by strangers than we knew.)

So, yeah. Zoom is fine to me. The other stuff, not fine, but Zoom is no big deal.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I've decided that the colored editing tools are an option when someone shares their screen (sharing a document to be edited). Probably for the best, or someone could be drawing a mustache on their favorite yoga instructor for example. :) It is funny how people's everyday conversations, background noises can be so distracting when everyone is not expecting it.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I can only imagine trying to parent and work from home via zoom at the same time. Here we are being told to be 'present' as parents and then a pandemic interferes with that plan. Glad zoom came in so handy for the situation with your mom. Very scary that she was getting taken advantage of. What would this pandemic have looked like without the aid of technology?

Kara said...

I had three Zoom meetings on Thursday last week, and by the third, I refused to use the camera and was audio only. I complained to my husband (who is now permanent WFH) who rolled his eyes at me. Because he spends almost half of every day on some sort of video conference.

Ernie said...

Kara - Coach and I had a video chat this morning using Teams not Zoom. On teams the person talking sort of takes center stage on the screen, and our images were off to the side. It sort of made me forget that other people could see me, which was misleading and probably not great as I've been told that my facial expressions are similar to Joan Cusack aka Rubber Face. I'd be useless at poker.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my gosh. You had me literally laughing out loud. I don't know much about zoom, zoom chats, sliding up, or much of anything anymore. I didn't think I was really getting old, but apparently, I AM.

I feel that maybe you're doing this to yourself so the kids can make fun of YOU AND COACH for your technology fumbles? wouldn't do that. ;)

Ernie said...

Suz - Always happy to share my goof-ups in order to provide entertainment. Goofing-up is my specialty.

Tank has been trying to meet a kid to room with through the a FB page set up by Creighton. He doesn't do FB, and I barely do FB, and the kids on there share their snap chats so people can connect that way. I don't get it. Why put your snap chat out there for kids to meet you, but then not open it? My kids just eye-roll at me and remind me that I'm clueless. No argument there.

Bibliomama said...

Omg, "I can't red-line your manuscript so I'll just RED LINE YOUR FACE". I loathe Zoom. I hate staring at my stupid face. I hate that only one person can talk at once. I hate the technical difficulties (admittedly it was Skype for book club that was the absolute worst, we did it once and I swore off it forever). I haven't had to do it too much for work. Some of us have been doing Tuesday Bar Night over Zoom - I only do it a few minutes every couple of weeks because it makes me hate everyone, including myself. I prefer being outside in frigid temperatures to Zoom.

Ernie said...

Ali - I guess I should count myself lucky because if there was alcohol involved in my writing group, well - God only knows what I would've messed up. I was embarrassed by making the aquarium sound. It only went downhill from there.

I do hate staring at my face on zoom. I start to obsess over a stray hair and then I don't want people to think I'm vain so I try to leave it alone but when it won't lay flat - then I CAN'T STOP trying to fix it and I try to allow myself a few minutes before I mess with it again. See, alcohol would only exaggerate the situation.

Mellie said...

Oh that would be me too. I have no idea how Zoom works or what any of the buttons do! We had one Zoom meeting for an overseas trip my daughter got picked for, and I had no idea how to do it. Thankfully the kid was around to help!

Ernie said...

Mellie - My relationship with zoom is the equivalent of my parents' relationship with their VCR years ago. They could NOT set the time. Or press play. These things are always easier when teens are around, if you can withstand the teasing afterward. They still make fun of me for waving to my workout instructor during FB live workout class.