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?"
Lee: YEAH I HEAR IT TOO.
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.
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.