A Grin at the End: Way of the future – Do you really need to see me for a phone call?

January 2022 Posted in Uncategorized

I’m probably not alone in this thought, but I can’t wait for the whole pandemic thing to be over. I mean, we’re going on two years and people are still trying to figure out whether they’ll get a shot. Or rather, they are still trying to justify why they will or will not get a shot.
I can’t tell people what to do. I’ve tried it before, and it doesn’t work. But I will say for the record that I am fully vaccinated – and boosterized – because in all my reading and research it seemed like the thing to do. I’m old, and a lot of people depend on me – my family, my co-workers and my cat. Imagine explaining my absence to the cat, who I feed every morning,  because I wouldn’t get a shot.
When it comes to personal health, people need to do what they think is right. My only admonishment is don’t risk everything over something a nut job – even a well-meaning one – wrote on the internet.
I’ve bloviated at length before on this page what I think about the internet. It boils down to one warning: Beware.
Anyway, I’m equally concerned about a much more immediate problem: online video meetings. Ever since COVID-19 showed up on a jet from China and people decided to order each other to stay home, these video meetings have proliferated. Co-workers, family and other folks have decided that a plain old phone call was not enough. Now they want to see my face.
Think about that. I have to see myself in the mirror every morning. Believe me, there’s not much to see. I used to tell my wife that I saw James Bond in the mirror. Now I just see some old duffer who needs a shave.
Video calls have been around for a longtime. When I was a kid my parents took my brother and me to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. It was awesome. We got a glimpse of the future at many of the pavilions – nuclear fusion, self-driving cars – even Belgian waffles made their U.S. debut.
At the AT&T pavilion, picture phones were the featured attraction. Someone at the pavilion could talk on the phone to a friend or relative in Chicago or Washington, D.C., and see a tiny black-and-white video of him or her.
At the time I thought The Jetsons had arrived. How cool was it that I could talk to someone and see them at the same time?
Now, 50-plus years later, I’m no longer impressed. FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Go To Meeting and other apps have taken over my life. I’ve had video-conferences with people in Spain, England and France, friends in Alaska and scores of others all over creation. Oddly enough, all of them looked exactly like themselves. And I imagine the same could be said for me. I’ve pretty much looked the same for decades, except for a few more gray hairs.
So several times a week I video conference with people. They get to see me, from the waist up, in living color.
They just don’t know how lucky they are that no one has invented a full-length video app.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor.
He lives in Stayton.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.