Erin's Journals

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Just a thought… Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. [Rumi]

When this year began – you know, about 102 years ago – I took on a big task: teaching myself to edit audio. I won’t go into how it’s done, although my friend Lisa did in a blog that I found fascinating and you might, too.

Learning a new skill and one that I’ve put to use literally hundreds of times (especially with that 800-page course I recorded, edited and sent, all within a month) freed Rob up to do other production work, to play hockey or keep the house running.

Then, coincident with awareness of the word “COVID,” Zoom came into my consciousness. I was mildly interested, but thought, I’ll probably never use it…we FaceTime with our family in Ottawa and that’s good enough. But it entered our home when we started using it with sister meetings coordinated by the techie of us four girls, my oldest sibling Heather. Soon the sisterhood of the travelling rants was trying other platforms as we all sought the best signals, and most user-friendly apps etc..

As work began to ramp up, thanks to two podcasts that came to be in 2020 (which we totally didn’t see coming; I thought this year would be all about in-person keynote speeches – ha!), we moved further into the on-camera virtual meeting world. And here’s where my problem lies. We used to have phone calls. I could stay in my jammie-jams all day long if I wanted (and I often did) and get the job done. As far as anyone on the other end knew, I was highly inspired and sharply attired, baby!

Weeks of isolation turned into months, and we stayed busy. If I wasn’t recording and editing auditions for the two voice sites to which I subscribe, I was pecking away at this poor worn-out computer or prepping for upcoming interviews of which I was either host or subject. And then, for some inexplicable reason, we started to go Zoom in meetings.

What were previously done over the phone as conference calls were now on screen. And why is this a point of contention?

Well, because no one but my family and complete strangers in the grocery store are going to see me with lousy hair or red break-outs on my face (thanks, menopause). So now a simple meeting turns into getting dressed, doing my hair and putting on makeup (which my skin is not fond of these days).

It sounds like a stupid thing to be bugged by – especially when there are real problems in the world and right outside my door – but more than once I’ve gotten a call where someone has wanted to FaceTime and I’ve just not answered it. Honey, you have to give me notice if you want to see this face, unless you’re family (and I’m not even comfortable looking au naturel around my own sisters).

I can hear the words “vanity” or “insanity” ringing in my head right now and some people will judge me that way. But if you’ve been slammed in the newspaper for your hockey player-like looks (does anyone remember Gary Dunford or Spike Gallagher?) it leaves a mark deeper than one from a high-sticking.

I’ve had surgery to reduce my prominent Davis chin. I’ve worked hard and gone through plenty of pain to keep my face from showing the decades of middle-of-the-night alarms. If I’m lucky enough to get to my eighties, I’ll be that woman with the vertical colour lines bleeding from my non-existent lips (they’re barely there now – I’m all mouth, but no lips). It’s who I am and I come by it honestly: my mother almost had to sit down when she saw how many women would go to the grocery store with curlers in their hair back in the 70s. She wasn’t raised that way, and neither was I.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire women who can be themselves, not a drop of makeup and comfortable in their skin. It so happens that I’m not one of them and that’s not going to change. I did strike a compromise a few weeks ago: I did a video meeting with a blazer worn over my black jersey nightgown, adding a wig and a necklace. And it worked!

So I come back to my first question: can’t we just have meetings over the phone? I mean, just because the technology exists, do we have to use it? In 2020 they’d be giving the Six Million Dollar Man a penis extension.

If you could see me, I’d be blushing. But you won’t, so please just take my word for it and I’ll be back with a new journal Monday.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, December 3, 2020