New ways to connect

April 10, 2020 by Patricia Omidian

Somehow, in spite of the distance between us and the glitches in the technology, I feel like I am connected to people I am meeting around the world. As I do each webinar, as a facilitator or as a participant, I feel like I am grounded in the present and connected to each person. We could be sitting around a table talking. 

I don’t like telephones. I haven’t wanted to talk on the phone since my mom died in 1996. You would think I would be over that by now, but I am not. We had a weekly conversation by phone (me in California and her in Texas) every Saturday for years. Dad told me she sat by the phone each Saturday morning waiting for me to call her. You see, my mom was disabled and her body was failing her, though her brain was always sharp and clear. When she died, my desire to use a phone died, too. 

Then, with the internet and the rise of video technology, I discovered I could again connect across great distances. By then I was working in Pakistan and Afghanistan and it was the late 1990s/early 2000s. My son in California would be doing his college homework late at night, so during my lunch time (we were 12 hours apart) we would hook up our videos and share an hour, just hanging out and being together. I would ask what he thought of something; he would ask me a question or show me his art project. It was like we were sitting in the same room, doing our own thing. It was so normal. 

So that is what I love about Zoom or Facetime. I get to see people’s faces and their expressions–here a smile, now a grimace, there goes an eyebrow raised in irony. It’s a connection I am comfortable with. It’s been my normal for years and it fits our new reality.