Wednesday Morning Thoughts

As I sit here trying not to despair, after all, there are still mail in ballots being counted, I can’t help but wonder what happened to our Country. Saying I am deeply disappointed after thinking the enormous numbers of early voting  and mail in ballots would mean an uncontestable landslide for Joe Biden, is a colossal understatement.

 How did four years of Donald Trump make anyone want four more?

Clearly his supporters don’t care that they were voting to re-elect a pathological liar or a man who, as President Obama said, “just makes stuff up”.  They consciously chose a President who, with a wink and a nod, encourages white supremacy, cuts taxes for the wealthiest, ignores inconveniences such as the emoluments clause, continuously tries to disenfranchise those whose job it is to report the news and divides the country into red and blue states. The list goes on and on but anyone who pays attention knows the depressing list without me reiterating it here.

OK, so be it, they decided to cast their vote for a known commodity, but I fail to understand how anyone with a conscience can vote for a man who rips children from their parents arms and locks them in cages, or can support someone who encourages the industrial carnage of our precious environment or someone who, despite the science, believes that a virus, which has tragically killed more than 220,000 people in the U.S.… so far , will magically disappear by doing absolutely nothing.

If after the votes are counted (and hopefully they will be despite Trump’s demanding the counting be stopped early) and Trump prevails (heaven forbid!) I fear that four more years of being cunningly gaslighted by the Gaslighter in Chief will continue to provide cover for a painful and often cringeworthy agenda seemingly focused on personal grudges and personal gain.

I hope I can take this post down and rejoice when the final results are tabulated but for now, since this is my blog, this is what I have to say!

People, when you attend a Zoom meeting we can see you!

Not only can we see you, but we also see your name (Len that means you, next time PLEASE keep your clothes on!).

Am I the only one developing anger management issues with Zoom participants who exhibit poor or nonexistent manners or am I being too demanding? After reading about  my two latest Zoom experiences I think you will agree that someone (perhaps me?) has to be in charge of Zoom etiquette.

Before going further however I will explain the difference between a Zoom Webinar and a Zoom Meeting. This explanation should  not only prove my impressive bona fides (developed with the help of Google) but should convince everyone that I should  serve as the Zoom Etiquette Expert Extraordinaire (ZEEE).

Zoom Meetings are designed to be a collaborative event with all participants able to screen share, turn on and off their own video and audio, rename themselves (good idea for some to consider) and see who else is in attendance. When joining a meeting via Zoom you are given the option to “Open with Video” then to “Open with Audio”. When you see these options it’s your clue that you can be seen and heard by everyone.

 Zoom Webinars allow for view-only attendees and are designed so that only the host and panelists can share their video, audio and screen. Attendees cannot be seen and are muted, but do have the ability to interact via Q&A, Chat, and/or answer polling questions. Only the host can unmute someone and in webinars attendees cannot rename themselves.  You can tell its a Webinar and not a Meeting because upon logging in your options will be “Join Webinar” or “Join Webinar in Progress”.

More simply stated, a standard Zoom meeting is fully interactive and allows participants to see, speak, hear, and screen-share with each other. A Zoom webinar is a view-only platform where the attendees cannot see each other, and the Host cannot see the attendees.

As promised, I will briefly outline two of my latest, absolutely true, Zoom experiences to describe the need for a ZEEE:

At the end of a Zoom exercise class a few days ago I watched in total disbelief as Len stood up and nonchalantly began removing his clothes. After taking off his shirt and shorts he casually sat back down and continued to watch the Q & A session. Fortunately, while I was praying he wasn’t going to take us into the shower with him, the moderator noticed (hard to miss) and turned off his video. I sincerely hope someone will contact him in the near future and explain how zoom works!

It’s impossible for me to believe, but if after reading about Len you’re thinking to yourself “yes, she is much too demanding” or  “we don’t need a ZEEE” please read on….

The day after the Len episode I attended another Zoom meeting, this one was a lecture presented by one of my favorite speakers. About ten minutes into the session one of the audience members (I’ll call her Stella), who was attending the meeting on her cell, turned her cell view around to look at herself. For some strange reason, when she did this it overrode the Speaker View which meant that the 40 or so attendees were now looking at  Stella looking at herself. I assume she had no clue this was happening and because the speaker didn’t stop her, for the next two hours Stella’s face would suddenly pop up and take over the screen, then just as suddenly disappear. After a while, instead of paying attention to the lecture, I found myself anxiously waiting for the next Stella sighting (and let me assure you Stella did not disappoint!). For almost two hours she would unexpectedly appear and be ambling around her apartment, combing her hair, ever so slooowly applying lipstick, until finally at the end we watched her sit and stare into space.

In retrospect someone (me) should have sent a private message to the speaker and asked her to  turn off Stella’s video….. next time (and I’m sure there will be a next time!) in my role as self appointed ZEEE, I definitely will.

Furthermore, as your ZEEE I implore you, when participating in a Zoom Meeting, to behave as if you were in the theater (sigh), at the ballet or movies or attending an in-person event (even bigger sigh). In case it’s hard to remember that far back, fear not, the ZEEE is here to help with a few easy  tips (feel free to email me any additional suggestions, although I can’t imagine what they could possibly be). Here goes……

  1. Do not attend a Zoom Meeting on your cell phone! If you have no other options do not turn the camera around to look at yourself.
  2. When attending a Zoom Meeting, always dress appropriately, at least the part we can see. E.g. a few months ago I attended a large zoom meeting with a woman who was wearing a see-through nightgown!
  3. Keep in mind that although you might be using Speaker View, everyone at the meeting who chooses Gallery View can see you.  Walking around the room, rocking in your rocking chair, blowing your nose, knitting, eating, talking on your cell phone, or applying makeup are no no’s
  4. And perhaps arguably the most important one, PLEASE keep your clothes on!!




Strange and Sad Times

An event I witnessed yesterday afternoon struck me as a clear example of how tense and emotional the current running through NYC and the country is right now.  At 4:00 I sitting on a bench outside Gourmet Garage trying to figure out how to place a complicated Starbucks order for my neighbor when I heard a man and a woman across the street angrily yelling at each other. From what I could discern he was furious because she had asked him why he wasn’t wearing a mask. He shouted menacingly that just because he was black and she was white she had no right to tell him what to do. Her odd emotional response was that she wasn’t prejudiced and to prove it she had just participated in the protest march downtown. He didn’t care he yelled, she was a white bigot and all the violence happening in this country right now was because of people like her. My pounding heart finally calmed down when she turned and quickly started walking away. After yelling a few more angry retorts he stormed away as well, thankfully in the opposite direction.

In the meantime, my attempt to do a good deed was rewarded by an angry phone call from my neighbor demanding to know why I thought this was what she wanted from Starbucks (possibly because it was the closest thing on the menu that matched the complicated instructions in her text?). She told me she threw away the $8.00 drink and that I should  go get my money back. Not quite the reaction I had in mind!

Could the day get any more star crossed? If you saw the police attacking peaceful protesters to clear a path so President Trump could make his way across the street to brandish a bible in front of St John’s church, you know the answer.

NYC As Seen From My Window Tonight

Like every other New Yorker, as well as 80% of my fellow Americans, I’m sitting in my apartment on lockdown as I have been for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Luckily I live in an apartment that affords beautiful views of this magical city. Looking at tonight’s  breathtaking sunset, the light show display at the top of the Empire State Building and the lights in apartment windows as far as the eye can see, you would never guess that the only sound I hear, almost non stop, are sirens. Ambulances and fire engines working 24/7, for the first time in modern history, have no traffic to dodge as they race from one emergency to the next.

Tonight’s beautiful sunset fortunately was not unique, the photo of Amsterdam Avenue however, is. Amsterdam is one of the main arteries of the Upper West Side. It runs from 59th street to 193rd street and is usually filled with bumper to bumper traffic. Now as you can see, hardly a car in sight.



Empty streets