The Boom in Zoom


By Neil Offen

Can you hear me?

We’re Zooming for a friend’s virtual birthday party. We’re Zooming after months and months of Zooms — family Zooms, business Zooms, book club Zooms, doctor Zooms. But for some, of course, it doesn’t matter with whom we Zoom.

No, I can’t hear you. But I can see you. Can you hear me?

I can hear you, but I can’t see you. I left my glasses in the car. Can you see me?

Not sure because the picture is too small. Can you make the picture bigger?

How do you make the picture bigger?

Click on the right.

On the right what?

Hi, everyone, can you hear me?

Get closer to the mic.

Where’s the mic?

You’re too close. Stop shouting.

If I want to see everybody else, do I use the arrow to the left or the arrow to the right?

There are arrows?

That’s not Harold.

You don’t see them when you’re in full-screen mode.

What’s full-screen mode? And who are you?

What’s the meeting ID? It says you need an ID.

You don’t need an ID.

Who says you need a password?

You don’t need a password if you’re already on. Are you on?

Do you need a password for everyone to see you?

No, you only need a password for everyone to hear you.

No, you need a password so they don’t charge you.

They’re charging us?

Why can’t we do FaceTime instead? I do that with the grandkids.

How old are the grandkids?

Whose grandkids?

Why is everybody talking at the same time?

How come when I click on chat I can’t hear anybody?

Chat is for writing.

Why didn’t they say that? We shouldn’t be charged for that.

How old are they now?

If I can see you all now, does that mean you can all see me?

Are you muted?

How do I know if I’m muted?

See the little button down on the left?

I had no idea they were that old.

The left of the screen or the left of the keyboard?

Is that you, Errol?

No, it’s me, Sharon.

Put it on gallery view.

What’s gallery view?

Why can’t I see everyone who’s talking?

What? I can’t hear you.

Can you hear me now?

So, who’s hosting? Whoever is hosting, can you mute everyone?

Will that also get rid of the video?

I can’t hear you now. Or see you. How do I know you’re there?

Move to your left so we can see your whole face.

No, too far to the left. Now we only see your ear.

Shut the light off behind you. It’s blinding.

Not that light. Now it’s too dark.

If you’re on mute, should you speak louder?

Is it right next to the video button?

How do I get the video on?

Which button is video? Is it the one that looks like a camera?

How long are we supposed to do this? It says our time is running out.

If you missed anything, you know you can record this.

Why would anyone want to do that?

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column will appear twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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