Sunday, March 29, 2020


Where the hell did Zoom come from? Why is it now (at least in my small corner of the world--that feels even smaller every day of this experience) the default web platform for online video chatting? As I've said elsewhere, I had not heard of Zoom at all seventeen days ago . . . and now I hear about it on a daily basis.

This feels to me like a meme come to life. And not the goofy GIF-based memes that we have come to communicate in short reactions during these digital times. I mean the original definition of meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. Zoom has come to represent online communication in a very rapid way, and I still don't know why it happened.

But I guess I can speculate a bit--with little to no real data or substantial evidence. I guess that our instant reliance upon digital rather than face-to-face communication has put a great many of us on the same plane of communication. And somewhere, someone used Zoom as a reference for how to stay in touch. Maybe it was on Facebook. Maybe it was on the cable news. But someone referenced it and then someone else picked it up and referred to it and others heard and others heard. The meme idea was transmitted to increasingly larger amounts of people (kinda like a virus being transmitted, dontchaknow) . . . and then it someone became a fixed idea that we all understand and the idea becomes a cultural acknowledgment.

What does it mean? Don't know.

Is it important? Not really.

But it is visible. And it is interesting. And I wonder why. And I wonder how. And it gave me something to blog about today, another day in the continuing stream of house-bound days, where every room looks the same and my perspective rarely changes. Where the work sits waiting. And the dishes always need cleaning. Where we are five people who love each other but rub against each other's personalities with very little to spread us apart sometimes. Where the lure of being outside doing yard work looks tempting. A place where the act of ordering food out is a great joy that is also simultaneously a burden of dish transfer, hand sanitizing, careful trash disposal . . . and with all of that, something of an act of charity.

It is the place where we are all collectively experiencing this. And yet we are all isolated as well. We're in this together but trapped in our own heads. We are part of a whole and still desperately want to be individuals. We are one in the crowd but also so badly want space. Where no one can tell you what you are experiencing but also we know what it is like. And where we can't pretend that our struggles are comparable to the true problems of others.

How does this relate to understanding Zoom? It doesn't. Sorry.

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