May the Fourth connect you

I have been looking at his star wars memorabilia around the flat for a while, wondering if the occasion would present itself for the entire collection to be combined for a colour-coordinated composition. Of course May the Fourth was it. I allocated two hours for the project, but it took nearly all day and involved a few excited trips to the loft, much rummaging in the T-shirt drawers and a huge amount of dust. What was meant to be a fun art project turned into something quite stressful and caused the return of the headache. So that by 7.30pm, when I signed in for my much awaited zoom call with my choir, I was not feeling great.

I don’t like looking at my face in zoom calls, and there it was, tired and unprepared, next to a screen full of all my lovely choir buddies. They had all made an effort, with gorgeous make-up, smart outfits and even some fancy dress. I waved at them all and hoped no-one would speak to me. After some initial chat, the logistics were such that only our lovely choir leader Caroline would be actually singing, with her husband on the guitar, and the other 30 of us were on mute as we sang along. By the time we got to You’ve Got a Friend, I was crying. Stand by Me and Half the World Away sent me over the edge. I blinked through my tears at each of these lovely faces, rows of beautiful people, all smiling, all connecting from their tiny boxes on the screen. It was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I wanted to give them all a hug, and at the same time I didn’t want them to see me. Having been isolated for so long I didn’t realise how overwhelming a screen full of people would be. I managed to keep myself busy tidying up the huge Star Wars pile behind me. I folded up the Yoda T-shirts and boxed up the storm-trooper figurines while I mouthed along the words and tears streamed down my face.

I don’t know if everyone is finding it hard to connect by Zoom, but much as I was so happy to see everyone, I felt like the disconnection was highlighted more than any connection was achieved, and I was relieved when it was over. I guess normally at choir I have small quiet little chats with the one or two lovely ladies next to me in the alto section, and I avoid ever speaking to the whole group. Zoom is forcing all interactions to happen in whole group settings and while some people thrive off the audience, it is really inhibiting for me. But if this is how we interact now I will have to get over it. Next time I will make an effort, slap some makeup on, brush my hair and be proactive in saying hi to everyone on the call. I might be loving my lockdown isolation, but I need to remember how precious my social groups are and adapt in how to keep connected with them.

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