column

COLUMN: Not always a pretty picture revealed through the Zoom lens

Staying connected with friends during the pandemic is both risky and rewarding

Most of my closest friends I’ve known for nearly two decades – a few of them longer.

That is to say, there’s little any of them can do to surprise me anymore. I’ve seen them at their best, their worst, and all the spots in between.

But then came the day my friend Jeremy video-called me while he was in the shower. After all these years, that was something new.

Apparently, “Hey, watch me lather up” is the new “Hello.”

And you thought your office Zoom calls were bad.

Granted, this was not the first time I have seen a little too much of this particular friend – we grew up playing sports together, we’ve shared hotel rooms, and in the early 2000s I was unfortunately present when he streaked an outdoor fireworks show – but I still found the call a little unnecessary, even if it did make me laugh.

And while that call was uh, a little too revealing, it was just the latest in a series of entertaining video chats I’ve had with my friends since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few times last summer, four or five of us got together virtually via Zoom for some beers, and over the Christmas break, the same friend who called me from the shower organized a Zoom watch party for a Team Canada game at the World Junior Hockey Championships; everyone remained fully clothed for that one.

It was, we all agreed, a pretty good time. Was it the same as being in the same room together, or sitting in the same booth at our favourite pub? Well, no. But we made the best of a weird situation, and it was a welcome respite from what can otherwise be a pretty lonely existence when you don’t really leave the house for days at a time.

It was during one of our summertime Zoom calls that someone in our group posed a question that, somehow, none of us had thought to ask before:

“Why didn’t we start doing this years ago?”

Our semi-regular calls were spurred by the pandemic, of course, but my friend raised a good point. Video calls have been around for awhile, and of the five of us on the call, only two live in the same city.

In the last 10 years or so, my closest friends have all scattered from the Lower Mainland – to various Okanagan locales, to Squamish, and some even further afield, to northern B.C. and Fort McMurray.

We all keep in touch as best we can. Rare is the day that I don’t get a text message from one of them, and my friend Kyle and I have been swapping Simpson’s memes back and forth via social media for years.

But actually seeing them, via video, still felt different – like we had stumbled across some impressive new technology that, in reality, wasn’t really new at all.

Better late than never, I guess.

Now, we can see somebody’s horrible new mustache, or new tattoo, or if we’re lucky, maybe there will be a brief guest appearance from someone’s significant other. One friend had a baby just before Christmas, and though we’d all already seen pictures of the little guy, I don’t have to tell you how different it is to see video of a sleeping baby, as opposed to a still image.

It’s pretty much the same, actually. Never mind.

Nevertheless, we vowed to continue these calls well into the future – long after the pandemic is but a distant memory.

We’ll have some drinks, tell some dumb jokes, maybe watch a hockey game. Just like old times.

Except pants will be optional, apparently.

Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.

ColumnCoronavirus

Just Posted

1,001 Steps – along with Christopherson Steps – was closed by the City of Surrey last spring in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19. They are set to reopen this week, as a note on a city sign attests (inset). (File photo/Contributed photo)
South Surrey’s beach-access stairs set to reopen

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps have been closed since April 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read