DAY 38 – WE’RE ALL ZOOMING NOW
Until a month ago the only Zoom I knew was an ice lolly.
Now we’re all zooming away with friends and family. Not all of it pleasant.
I have friends who have sadly been to Zoom funerals and memorial services.
On the other hand we’ve had enjoyable chats on Zoom with friends and OH (other half) has Zoom lunches with his buddies. Most, like him, are over seventy. They used to meet up regularly for lunches and now meet on Zoom instead. They have one rule – they can discuss anything they like as long as they don’t talk about their prostates or their grandchildren!
Me – I would love to talk about my grandchildren. I would love to see them even more. So far it’s only been on Face Time. We’ve done baking, story time and today OH gave them a science lesson.
At Passover we had a successful Zoom Seder – that’s the Passover meal and service. It was the first year that no one spilt any wine on the tablecloth or food on the floor.
The other week we had the pleasure – if that’s the word – of attending a Zoom Brit. A brit or bris is the circumcision in Judaism of a male baby at eight days old. It’s not just a Jewish thing. Islamic faiths do it too. As do the royal family. Yes, Prince Charles and his brothers were all circumcised.
The actual circumcision is relatively painless – those of us watching didn’t feel a thing! Seriously though, a special trained Jewish doctor called a Mohel performs the op. I say op but normally there’s no anaesthetic other than a lick of wine the mohel gives the baby afterwards. The actual circumcision takes only a minute. The baby cries for a few seconds. And it’s over.
When our firstborn was circumcised I was still in hospital because I had had a complicated birth. My mother in law felt that her firstborn grandson should only have the best so she insisted that we have the Reverend Jacob Snowman – the same mohel who had circumcised Prince Charles.
By this time the mohel – who was said to be a cut above the rest – was quite frail and elderly. When he performed the brit his hand was shaking! But all went well. Everyone congratulated everyone else and the mohel left. At that time (and for all I know this is still the case) the mohel asked for no set fee. You gave however much or little you could afford.
The next morning I was standing by my hospital bed attending to my new born son when the ward sister appeared with Reverend Snowman in tow. How kind, I thought, he has returned to make sure all is well with my baby. But no such luck. “Mrs Neidle”, Reverend Snowman said to me, “Your husband forgot to sign the cheque!”
Normally, when one attends a brit, the women hover at the back of the room. When I had my boys all those years ago I chose to not even be in the room. However, with Zoom technology everyone has a front row seat. You would imagine it to be impersonal seeing something like this via a computer screen. But I actually found it quite moving. There were 65 people present (as in not there) from all over the world. The only downside was that there was nothing to eat afterwards. You may know that there is seldom any kind of Jewish event that does not include food of one kind or another. This time we all went away hungry.
Tonight we are looking forward to a Zoom meeting with the people with whom we would normally play table tennis on a Tuesday night. Zoom was originally created for conferences and work based meetings not for a group of people all trying to talk at the same time so unless someone keeps control, the whole thing just becomes a babble of voices.
Zoom’s whizzy technology allows you to give yourself a scenic background so you can be sitting on a beach, in a desert or up a mountain. You can even have a video going on in the background. Our favourite at the moment is our taking a river boat trip down one of the canals in Bruges. It would be pretty lifelike if only it didn’t look as if we were travelling backwards.
One aspect of Covid-19 has been that very few of the people we see on TV now are actually in a television studio. They’re talking to us via a computer screen. What I’m finding fascinating (and a lot more interesting than the news) is seeing inside the homes of television presenters and journalists. There they are sitting in their studies, utility rooms, gyms or loft extensions. If I try very hard I can even read the titles of the books on their shelves. I’m also able to see the strategically placed photos of their kids and the art that hangs on their walls. I’m also wondering what they are wearing – if anything – from the waist down. Much more interesting and entertaining than seeing them in a bland TV studio. So much so that I don’t always concentrate on what they’re saying which, in these days of Covid-19, is probably just as well.
© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems