After I emailed to set up a Zoom call with a friend, we both got the theme to the PBS Kid’s show stuck in our heads (the one from the 70’s not the reboot). That theme is a helluva earworm* as songs go. With it going round and round in my brain off and on for the last two weeks, plus literally having to tell people, “Sorry, I’ve already got three Zoom meetings that day,” I’ve become in danger of expanding the English language in ways that might elicit an eye roll from any decent lexicographer. Here’s hoping Suzy Dent is kind to me on Twitter.
The secret wish that your Zoom meeting could be as cool as the Muppets singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on Google Hangout or that your boss were as resigned to your antics as Kermit the Frog.
When you choose not to turn your camera on so other people can see you in the call. You’re keeping people at bay possibly because you’re multi-tasking and don’t want to appear rude, your messy living room has last night’s dirty dishes in the background, you don’t want people knowing you haven’t showered, or you’re marginally creeped out by several hundred strangers coming over.
As in frienemy, your rival who not so secretly resents and envies your successes, and to whom you now have to be nice in front of everyone else in the Brady Bunch / Hollywood Sqares version of the new normal. There is no escape other than complete, off the grid isolation in which your Zoomemy will gain the upper hand and shut you out of all the cool Zoom social hours and professional opportunities.
The study of how humans behave in the two-dimensional captivity of Brady Bunch squares.
One who studies Zoomology (See Zoomology). Most challenging for the Zoomologist is that in order to study Zoomology, the Zoomologist must remain in the same captivity. (Mind blowing, isn’t it? Even Schroedinger’s mind would be blown by this.)
Online yoga, martial arts, and fitness classes obviously, but sadly this now includes people who don’t know they should not be exercising while on a non fitness class Zoom call.
Example: a Zoom high school reunion in which everyone was participating in a social hour but one participant spent the entire time flinging sweat off her face and chest while apparently training for the In Place Tour de France on her stationary exercise bike. (This was actually my own Zoom high school reunion, which I blew off but heard all about. Who the hell does that?!?” One of our classmates, apparently. And back then they thought I was ‘weird.’)
Completely mystified and potentially horrified by people’s behavior on Zoom. (See Zoomercise example.)
Looking absolutely fabulous from the waist up on Zoom via the right camera angle, the right lights, possibly makeup appropriate for video work, and a check mark in that little “improve appearance” box in Zoom’s preference settings. (It’s there. I’ll hold on while you find it.)
Used in a sentence: “Daaahhhling, you look aaabsolutely zoooooomulous!”
A spin off of the best selling “Dress for Success” book of the 1980’s but when one only looks professional from the waist up.
Example: a dapper sport coat over a crisp, white dress shirt tucked into sweatpants with bare feet. (Not that I’ve caught anyone in my house doing that or anything.)
A branch of Homo sapiens unaware that others can see and hear everything happening on the Zoomanoid’s end if this person has not muted him/herself on Zoom when not actually meaning to speak.
Example: In the middle of a meeting someone’s spouse walks in yelling “How long is this going to take?” and the Zoomanoid looks over the laptop and replies, “I don’t know she’s just starting to talk,” and everyone on the call can hear.
Adorable small children and fur kids who show up and announce themselves completely unexpectedly. (We totally get it. It happens. It’s ok.) (See Zoomeruption)
The reaction hosts and others experience when on a call with a Zoomanoid (See Zoomanoid)
When small children and fur kids show up and announce themselves completely unexpectedly, throwing off everything from your persuasive and compelling argument or heartfelt expression. In addition to an unexpected happy pet moment, this can lead to understanding and empathy on a world scale and may provide footage for the Next Normal’s world inclusive version of America’s Funniest Videos.
Example: A legal powerhouse giving her presentation before a panel of experts is interrupted by her two year old son and asks, “Did daddy say you could come in here?”
Legal Eagle Mom: “Did you ask him?”
Legal Eagle Mom: “Why not?”
Child: “Because you’re in charge.”
Even a top notch lawyer knows not to argue with logic like that.
How the human face can look when you’re using a laptop or iPad at a normal angle for typing and looking at the screen, but the camera captures the distorted up-your-nose, double chin view that is never flattering.
The wonderful, connected, and empathetic “Wow, it’s not just me,” feeling of humanity all trapped in the same unthinkable circumstances of a pandemic. Not to be confused with Zumanity, Cirque du Soleil’s adult, extra colorful, and quite naughty, permanent show in Las Vegas. (I’ve heard it’s awesome.)
Often experienced by those who use online classes and meetings as a way to mitigate increasingly painful isolation and loneliness. Frequently caused by micromanaging bosses who can’t believe their suddenly-working-from-home subordinates are actually getting anything done without said bosses looking over their shoulders.
Note: Scientists are documenting a very real fatigue that sets in from too many long Zoom calls and the unnatural focus required that taxes our brains.
When you realize you haven’t eaten lunch or taken a bathroom break because you’ve been in Zoom calls all day. (See Zoomatigue)
- Fear of your computer suddenly falling victim to a viral pandemic because somebody at Zoom didn’t make sure the code had thoroughly washed its hands sufficiently to keep your hardware and your data safe.
- Fear of looking like a technically challenged dork on Zoom because before mid-March, 2020, you had avoided anything but FaceTime with family who patiently puts up with your lack of techno-know-how, know what you really look like, and are used to your being a lovable dork.
The even greater hold tech companies are about to have on us for the foreseeable future because suddenly everything we used to do in person we now do on Zoom or a similar platform.
A person who can’t stop monopolizing the conversation on a Zoom call of 5 or more people even though s/he is neither the host nor the teacher.
The “Thanks so much for doing this! Gotta run,” text one enters in the Zoom chat when one is bored, tired (see Zoomatigue), or feels they signed up for the wrong online class or doesn’t know anyone else at the party.
When you’ve drunk too much wine with friends on Zoom.
The amount of time multiple Zoom calls can eat out of your day.
Thank you to Zoom for existing! Without it, we’d be even more isolated.
Feel free to add these words and definitions to your vocabulary, but please give credit or link back to this post. Remember you heard it hear first, and well, if it leads to a paying writing gig, I’d be beyond thrilled and able to pay for my family’s toilet paper.
There may be more. Stay Tuned.
*The Earworm Cure: Hum at least three quarters of the TV theme to “I Dream of Jeanie.” It will erase whatever song is going around and around in your head but, for some unknown reason, does not stick itself. It’s like cooking spray for your brain. My husband and I swear by it. Try it. Let me know.