Alone in the Same Room

Oh, the awkward zoom. 

The one that reminds us how far we’ve really come in this Covid remote learning world. 

Because for all the jokes and memes and skits poking fun at how artificial it is to interact in tiny boxes on a screen, it’s not until the rare clunker that we recognize how warm our regular zoom spaces have become. 

It was almost entirely the same group of people today, but oh, what a difference. Was it the new addition, a relative stranger to our zoom room? Perhaps the topic. . . important, but a stark reminder of an unwelcome change on the horizon? 

Hard to say. Yet, the shift was palpable. 

People sat back a bit farther from their screens. 

Quiet.

Passive.

Faces dipped into the shadows. (A rash of lighting issues, or were we less eager to be seen?) 

Respectful listening, neutral facial expressions—sure—we’re all professionals. But. . .

Distant. 

Familiar faces adrift in a sea of boxes. 

This was the kind of meeting where we needed to make eye contact, to be the kind of side-by-side where it’s possible to offer a reassuring smile meant just for the one who needs it. We needed to be in the same room, to not just see but feel our community.

But since that cannot be, I can only appreciate that today felt like an anomaly and not the norm.

Every day in the month of March I am blogging with the team at Two Writing Teachers Blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join us!

9 Comments

  1. Beth Sanderson

    I love the title “Alone in the Same Room”. It is true that what once seemed awkward and stilted has become the new normal. Warm greetings across screens, smiles and shared ideas. I am glad today’s clunker was rare for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. glenda funk

    Your title pulled me in. I don’t have much Zoom experience as a retired teacher, but I do recall moments when I’ve felt alone in a crowd. I hope your Zoom community gets sorted out so all feel comfortable enough to look at one another and communicate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Morgan

    At first, I thought you were writing about a Zoom with kindies. Then, a few lines created dissonance – like how they sat back from their screens (I didn’t think that was something a 5 year old could do :)) and then I simply started over, understanding that this was a professional space and the only reasons I read it differently is because I can imagine the kind of community you’ve created with our youngest learners. This made the weight of the moment and magic of the connection all the more powerful. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Clare Landrigan

    I like how you left a lot unsaid. I had to reread to figure out what was going on which led to me feel alone as the reader which added to the focus of your piece. Community is community – virtual, hybrid or in-person. It takes work to build it.

    Liked by 1 person

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