Art Week, Epilogue, Virtual Blogger Meetup

During our video chat [Part 3], Martine was everything that was charming and delightful. I met her husband (Waves hi!). I got a tour of her house. One could see that she was at easy with the medium.

Me, not so much.

As human beings, we will always prioritize live interaction. There is something about breathing each other’s oxygen. Unfortunately, when one does not spend sufficient time among the three-dimensional, one’s social IQ atrophies. While I was never a social butterfly, I could at least speak coherently and politely. As the hermit grows stronger, the grunting and staring increases.

My favorite mode of communication is email &/or text. I think much better with a keyboard these days.

I’m liking phone calls less and less, particularly as everyone shifts to cell phones. I lose the rhythm of the conversation. What feels like an awkward pause is just the signal being relayed. So, I jump in with a comment, right on top of the other person’s response. Verbal traffic jam. I keep a landline specifically for interviews, so I don’t have this problem.

This was my first video phone call. I knew there was a reason I had been avoiding them. Video chats combine the immediate demands of live conversation with the technological shortcomings of a phone call. I kept feeling the need to rush in to fill the pauses. I was constantly scrambling for something to say. Me?! I always have something to say. If nothing else, ask a question. If I have one viable professional skill, it is the ability to think up questions. Sitting there, staring at this nice lady’s face, I froze.

Hanging up, I felt like a complete dork. The fault was all mine. Martine could not have been nicer or more welcoming. I was the Neanderthal at the dinner party.

No tour of the house. It’s not fit for public consumption. (Seriously, I need to do something.) I wasn’t even all that comfortable with the background. It’s one thing to say that you are 12 years old and that you hang up all your horse show ribbons. It’s another thing to provide proof. No scenic husband to introduce. She did get to see some of the office managers when they came to stomp across my desk.

Video chats. Not a fan.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Blogging, Horses

4 replies »

  1. “As the hermit grows stronger, the grunting and staring increases.”

    OMG. I flat-out snorted at this. I can relate. Some weeks I actually congratulate myself for not having left the property or laid eyes on another human being. The spouse doesn’t count. Not because he’s not a human being, but by virtue of the fact that he lives here (well, mostly sleeps here), I do see him on occasion. That said, after some thirty-eight years together, our highest form of communication has pretty much evolved to well-timed grunts and stares.

    “I’m liking phone calls less and less, particularly as everyone shifts to cell phones. I lose the rhythm of the conversation. What feels like an awkward pause is just the signal being relayed. So, I jump in with a comment, right on top of the other person’s response. Verbal traffic jam. I keep a landline specifically for interviews, so I don’t have this problem.”

    Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES! Do NOT call me from your cell phone and try to have a meaningful conversation. People do not seem to grasp the level of frustration this causes others. The connection will get dropped at least five times per effort. (I’ve heard every excuse, including, “Sorry. My house has a metal roof.” (Huh?) There will be multiple garbled, “Can you hear me now” moments scattered throughout the attempt and incessant awkward verbal traffic jams. Please. Just skip the call and use mental telepathy. Or something similar. Because that would be almost as accurate as using your cell phone. And yes, I still have a land line. Problem is, nobody else does. (So if you suddenly get a hankering for clear, concise conversation, call me!)

    “This was my first video phone call. I knew there was a reason I had been avoiding them. Video chats combine the immediate demands of live conversation with the technological shortcomings of a phone call. I kept feeling the need to rush in to fill the pauses. I was constantly scrambling for something to say.”

    Exactly. And they give me vertigo, with all that moving around and twitching in place. Nobody needs to see me scratching my nose while we chat. The allure of “seeing” while phoning escapes me completely. I resent the need to have to comb my hair and do my eyebrows just to shoot the breeze with someone. (Yes, I look like a bag lady the vast majority of the time I’m home because my horses and dogs don’t care) I don’t want that kind of personal experience or pressure just to chat.

  2. Funny that, I’m very comfortable with video calls. It started fifteen years ago when my best friend’s daughter was in college in London and she used to join us for family meals via Skype. Had her own seat at the table and everything. We just chatted like normal and she listened in as she did her normal stuff in her flat, chiming in whenever she wanted. Since then, voice and video quality has improved enormously (perhaps we are ahead in Europe? Compared to some parts of the US?) and with the equalisation of roaming charges (no more exorbitant data charges for roaming) it’s really easy to keep in touch with my daughters. Sometimes we use video, sometimes just voice.
    Definitely not an age difference thing….

  3. I was concerned that this post was too curmudgeonly. Perhaps it is, but I am not alone!

    ” … family meals via Skype. Had her own seat at the table …” We live in a science fiction novel.

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