Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Gas and the Video Call (Day 54)

Well, it is the 348th day of the global pandemic. 

And today, friends, my dog had severe gas--loud, noisy, every 25 second rumbling gas that he would pass while sound asleep; sound asleep on my feet. At my desk. While I spent my day on video calls. 

The result: it would seem to my colleagues and friends all across the world that I had severe gas, loud, noisy, every 25 second explosive gas that would pass and rumble out while I was mid-sentence. 

Every time it happened, I'd immediately stop speaking, as if distracted by gastrointestinal discomfort, which did nothing to dispel the illusion of me and my GI tract sounding off defiantly. 

I began trying to time my comments to the moments after my dog would let one rip. This required the constant talking-over of other colleagues, which created more confusion and lots of "no you go ahead," "no, apologies, you go ahead," "it's okay, go ahead," which followed by the inevitable awkward silence during which the dog would just rocket gas out of his body with such volume that I am sure it convinced some call attendees that they were indeed the ones farting.

But alas, it was my profile all lit up in guilt. 

247 days ago, I probably would have interrupted everything to explain how funny it was that my dog was farting so loudly. I'd laugh about my sweet, old furry gassy co-worker.  But now, 101 days later, I find myself not fully caring if my colleagues find me to be a gassy, loud mouth who needs to use the bathroom but won't stop talking long enough to get there. 

I think this might be a low point in my video conferencing pandemic career. 

I remember the early days of the video conference call. I mostly worked from home even before the pandemic--but in those pre-contagion days, I was not expected to have my video on, ever, and really one could only imagine the state I was in. Who knows if I washed my face or was wearing appropriate attire or was sitting with a garage pile of laundry and toys behind me?

Well, I knew. But no one else did. Then, it was March 12, 2020 and suddenly we were all thrust into the world of beginning something akin to a YouTube influencer and needed to be seen at all times. We were figuring out how to do Zoom makeup and playing with virtual backgrounds and buying fake plants and trying not to make the sheet we hung up in our garage turned office look like something out of a Taliban beheading video. 

I even spent time every night to tidy a spot for my backdrop and pick a shirt that looked relatively good on camera. 

I was trying.  

Last week, I straight up wore my pajamas--three days in a row on a variety of video calls. On Day 1, there was toothpaste on the left size. Day 2, there was a second blob of toothpaste in the center. And Day 3, I realized there had been spots of face mask somehow smeared on the cuffs of my shirt. I talk with my hands; so you can imagine how many times I waved dried-up Crest at the camera. 

Somedays now, when I am really trying, I simply wash my face, grab a clean shirt and put it over my pajamas. I should not leave the house--because a mint green sweater with a plaid pair of pajama pants just looks homeless. But, that doesn't stop me. I leave looking that way anyway. 

Yesterday, I was on a video call with my hair wet and unbrushed, like someone who caught in a hurricane. Often, someone can be heard screaming "SHUT UP I AM ON A CALL" in the background of all my calls--and I honestly have no idea where the screaming is coming from; because between the hours of 7:30 am-6:30pm someone is ALWAYS on call.

I wonder, what will be my rock bottom? Will I stop getting out of bed and instead just roll to my side and press, "Join?" Will I begin walking around with my video on and multitasking and make everyone the call dizzy and confused? Will I finally go mad and put tape over my video camera, begin wearing a foil hat and start communicating via typed letter?

How low will I go before this pandemic ends?

If you need me, I'll be encouraging my dog to poop, so we don't have to repeat gas and the video call tomorrow. 




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