Back to Face to Face

One of the pleasant side-effects of COVID was that meetings, of any sort, just stopped. Suddenly days were carefree and wide open. Productivity soared. Maybe we didn’t need meetings at all!

Then Zoom came to the fore, and meetings–virtual ones–popped up. Other than a sore neck from staring engagedly at the screen, I greeted the coming of Zoom with enthusiasm, for it solved some of the challenge of finding support for Oliver for evening meetings, as I could attend them from home, or from my office across the street. Less carefree, but at least I didn’t have to put on shoes.

For April through August all of my meetings, from the Stars for Life board to the Mayor’s Task Force on Active Transportation to the Green Party EDA to Pen Night were held online (with the exception of a lovely summer Pen Night gathering in our back yard).

With the arrival of the autumn meeting season, and the current state of COVID regulations allowing indoor face-to-face meetings within certain limits, the post-Zoom transition has begun.

While the Task Force and Pen Night are opting to stay virtual for now, both my Green Party EDA and Stars for Life board meetings today were held in person.

And, wow, that was weird. I couldn’t get over the background feeling of “you’re doing something very wrong here” throughout both. I noticed every cough. Every touch of the face. I tried to eyeball 6 feet of apartness, and got nervous when it seemed to be violated.

My personal approach to COVID has been to imagine that everyone else in the world, save Oliver, has just walked out of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and to treat them as radioactive for all intents and purposes. Sitting around a board room table with them, 6 feet apart or no, masked or not, didn’t do much to mitigate my fears that I would start to glow in the dark any minute now.

I’m not sure I’m ready for this yet.


Chris Mears's picture
Chris Mears on September 17, 2020 - 09:32 Permalink

For all our mention of a return to normal I wonder at how it feels to actually go back. What will that anxiety feel? We’ve become so aware of our movements it will take time to learn a new compromise that remembers what we learned but allows us to sneeze comfortably too.