(Note: If you haven’t watched this video yet of a teacher-songwriter lamenting the rush to take education online, treat yourself. Today’s post is triggered by receiving that link in an email and yesterday’s post from Adrienne’s blog booksandbassetts. #SOL20 has been truly inspirational—I often don’t know what I’ll write until I read the posts of my fellow bloggers—and I thank you all.)
ZOOM! I love ZOOM! I knew when I crossed the country upon retirement that I’d miss the daily contact with my colleagues, my close friends. What I didn’t know was how Zoom would allow me to deepen the bond with one of them to the point that I feel closer to her now than I did then.
When a person makes a real effort to remain in your life, despite the constraint of physical distance (hmmm, maybe a lesson to learn from right now?!), then you know her true value. Yes, I hear people say, “Even though we haven’t seen each other in two-and-a-half years, when we get back together, it’s like we’ve never been apart.” And there is some truth to that, but unless the relationship has maintained connection during that apart time, has some touch-points with the day-to-day, I feel like it traces back to where it was, not where it, and we, are now. Something is lost.
My great and good friend Maria and I have nurtured our connection through Zoom. She extended the first invitation, I’m pretty sure. As a woman who has become a technology consultant for the universities where she works as an adjunct teaching technology integration courses as well as composition— a person whose expertise is currently in critical demand—we share educational interests of course.
But that alone is not what sustains us now.
I have taught all three of her wonderful sons; her “baby” ranks among my favorite students and people ever. I joined his mom and dad and his brothers at his Princeton graduation and truly felt like family. Before I ever left New Jersey, I had many a long lunch at her home, the boys drifting away to their busy lives while she and I continued to chat and laugh.
When we Zoom, a verb for us— “Zooming” its participle— we reserve a couple of hours, and truly, it’s almost like being together. There’s some research that supports this phenomena, the importance of actual face-to-face connection, especially for women. We make time for each other. And isn’t that everything? There’s a line from Ladybird, a movie that Maria urged me to see, we do that a lot in our sessions, where a character posits that paying attention is love. I count our Zooming as that: paying attention.
Maria has listened patiently while I rehearsed workshop sessions, carrying our conversation and laptop through the library during a fire drill. Our friendship has proved to be portable, adaptable.
We have shared about our children, our health, our health care, celebrations and setbacks, in short, our daily lives. This summer we worked our way together through an amazing book, Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl. We have laughed and teared. We have grown and been an ongoing factor in each other’s lives.
I have invited her and her family for a “real” visit and am 100% certain that it will happen at some point. (Her oldest son and his then- fiancé-now-bride, met us for dinner in Portland when they were here for business.) My husband who never knew Maria at all, now passes through as we converse and they greet each other like…well, like they know each other.
We had planned to meet after a family wedding in NJ this April. Now that travel seems unlikely. I rue that, but there’s always ZOOM until the real thing comes along. I’ll take it!