Lingering behaviors

I embrace Zoom meetings.

Sept 23, 2020–At the risk of flogging this deceased pony called the pandemic, I’ve toted up some outcomes that I shall embrace:

1) The end of handshakes

I never liked the tradition of shaking hands. Growing up in business and social circles, a handshake was like sniffing a dog’s butt.

That simple clasp of hands conveyed an inordinate amount of information. One needed to measure how strong or how limp, who extended a hand first, how long to hold the handshake until it became uncomfortable, the propriety of using the off hand to also grip the elbow, the appropriateness of a handshake between men and women, and so on. It was a minefield of protocol. A shake of the hand at the end of a job interview might seal the deal or send you back on the dole.

But what finally put me off of handshakes was seeing the president of an association not wash his hands after using the restroom. Right before lunch. From then on, I used my right hand only for shaking; I used my left for handling food.

2) Perpetual front row seats

I’ve spent at least one evening a week listening to live concerts by Monte Montgomery, Ben Beckendorf, Suzy Boggus, Pam Tillis, and interchangeable polka bands. It would require immense effort to hear any of those artists in person.

Now we can fire up the livestream, pop some corn, pour some rye, and listen to the best artists from the comfort of our AeroChairs. Crave conversation? Hit chat. You can even text and tip directly, impossible at a live show.

This is the easiest way to enjoy music you would not otherwise hear–without the travel, hassle, and late nights. It’s also a way to sample artists without investing an entire evening.

3) Redefining meetings

I LOVE Zoom. Even with all the “we lost Tim again” and “can you share the screen” and intimate looks up people’s nasal passages, a virtual meeting is an efficient way to get business done. This is especially true of “meetings that could have been an email.”

In a real meeting, you have to cast surreptitious glances at your smart phone in your lap.

In a virtual meeting, you can appear engaged in the agenda item even while you are posting pics of your grandchildren on Facebook. No one notices, because, except for the person on the agenda, everyone is doing the same thing.

4) Food prepared by others

With the new ease of take-out/pick-up/order-online eating, I have sampled the fare of more restaurants the past few months than I ever did in normal times. It has proved no burden at all to swing by my favorite places and grab a plate to go.

As I frequently dine alone, it always feels awkward to tie up a table. Grabbing a “to go” order alleviates the guilt. Not only am I trying new places, I’m returning to old favorites more frequently. Best of all, you feel virtuous for supporting local businesses. I even buy the pie.

5) Not having to go to certain events

Admit it. There are some events you feel obligated to attend, even though your heart is not in it. The virus provides a handy excuse for getting out of any uncomfortable gathering. This strategy is sure to come into play as families approach the traditional holiday season.

6) Putting off appointments

This one is probably not healthy, but c’mon. How many of you skipped teeth cleanings, various -oscopies, and oil changes because, the Rona, man. I’m not recommending this, but we know we’re all guilty.

Looking over my list, I realize these might sound adolescent and immature.

But maybe this really is what playing video games was preparing us for.


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