Chaos Attraction

The Ethics of Zoom Nagging

2020-04-13, 8:45 p.m.

Had my first coronavirus dream last night. It boiled down to "I had to go into the office for something and people were milling around not maintaining six feet of distance." Could be worse.

My neighbor continues to actually go out on the patio and cough, cough, cough. DROPLETS GO FOR 27 FEET.

I did see a black cat briefly run through my patio area before (sadly) leaving. That was exciting.

Today's morning work meeting:

(a) Lioness did return, but her computer, for various reasons, won't be working until like, Wednesday. Please don't ask me how she's somehow still sending me work emails saying "Please take care of this," though.

(b) My Coachella coworker did not dress up after all. Disappointing. I was all, "Hey, I put on a corset this weekend."

(c) We were asked what celebrity we'd want to quarantine with. I said Lin-Manuel Miranda because he's always doing something and it would never be boring. I was amused at those who said "Denzel" or "Beyonce." (On a related note, this exists.)

(d) My boss’s kid’s school called to tell her that they were making dioramas and she had to have clay and string and other materials like, within the next hour. With no notice. During quarantine. WTF? It’s not like she can run out to the Joann’s here!
(e) They are sending me a webcam! There is a tracking number! Soon they can see my smiling happy face in every meeting! KILL ME NOW. Please, God, lose that webcam and send it to someone who actually wants one for their job.

Today's afternoon surprise work meeting was, once again, "We can't get the printer to print." Which turned into a gripe session about how everyone is burned out AF, and everyone but Tigress and I agreed to work an extra 8 hours per week. (I was all, "seriously, I'm having a hard enough time holding it together for 40 hours a week as is," they don't even know how close I was to screaming in the hour before that ambush meeting--and that was after an hour of meditation class.) And they are still overloaded even with all the overtime. And are still being forced to answer phones starting next week.

Tigress and I pointed out that adding phones on is only going to make the workload worse because odds are fairly high this won’t cut down on the emails, and our boss was all, "Well, mention that the next time Grandboss is on a call," and I said that I didn't think it would do any good and I wasn't going to get myself in trouble for standing up and speaking out on something like that. (Especially if it's coming from the jerk who can't answer phones.) We all just came to the conclusion that burnout is just going to happen, I think. Nothing you can do but get sick, drown, and maybe die. That's the only option. Just keep swimming because otherwise you are one dead fish.

Otherwise, I just spent all day writing out emails to international clientele, and being sent giant amounts of lists I had no time to work on. Though I did get special dispensation to only have to answer portals for an hour a day rather than two after I said this, thank goodness.

I also gave up and ordered masks off Another "birthday present." At least they have rainbow print and pockets and are of suitable fabric. Because I cannot read about how all of the (few pieces of) fabric I have in my house are not suitable, are see through and stretchy, do not count, etc. and will start crying again.

I feel like someone should write an article about the ethics of Zoom nagging. By which I specifically mean, repeatedly asking people to turn on their cameras "so I can see your smiling faces!" I don't care how face-hungry you are and how dying of alone you feel, that's not okay.

1. Not everyone has a working camera, so back off. I hear webcams are hard to get these days, not everyone has a smartphone (I know, but I know a lot of folks who still like the flip phones for...some reason) etc.

2. Not everyone has a presentable house, Zoom backgrounds that work, etc. A good portion of us grew up NOT showing others where we live. Now, I was fortunate in that I cleaned house thoroughly in January and managed to not pig it up again by March, so I don't have to care about this (especially since donating to the SPCA/driving to the landfill are no longer options), but imagine if I was at my mom's hoarder house right now. Humans are gonna shame others for something, and not everyone wants to show where they live now that they are FORCED to show everyone where they live.

3. Not everyone WANTS to show their face. Or roots on their hair. Or stress zits. Or that they just gained from stress eating. Or whatever.

4. Do you really want to watch me sob like a crazy person during our work meeting? Or during the show you are putting on? Do I want to show myself sobbing to coworkers or complete strangers during a show? No, I do not. Do not bother me about this. I HAVE REASONS NOT TO GO ON CAMERA ALL THE TIME. Assume others do too. Like oh, they feel like shit right now.

5. Not every event you are throwing over Zoom requires face-showing, anyway. Did the meditation teacher today really need to nag everyone to show their face while they literally sit there with their eyes closed for an hour? Really? No, you didn't need to do that. If this isn't a participatory chat meeting and it's a lecture, you don't NEED faces and mikes for it. Remember how you could just like, go into some events and like, blend in and hide in the back of the room and just watch without having to be seen and heard? That’s not a thing one normally does in a lot of settings.

I did listen to Matthew Dicks's podcast today about video calls and he said something most people don't say: it's totally fine to have stuff behind you instead of a boring blank wall, have your kid/cat walk through, etc. Having something entertaining behind you is totally fine. Which, fine, because I don't care if you see the kitchen or not, the Zoom backgrounds won't work on an old computer, and putting up a white sheet behind me is not going to work because I can't hang it off anything in the kitchen.

In other news, I find it ironic that I find out more about how Scott is doing from his mother’s mailing list. (Meg actually even commented on this to me a few days later...) I did find an amazing tarot reading on that particular topic. It’s even called “Why you run away, every time.” Har.

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