Zoom backgrounds are the new storytellers. Last night a talking head on TV was in his kitchen with tomatoes and flowers behind him. How much effort went into lining up the tomatoes with such precision, I wondered!
So, I did a random sampling of backgrounds - real and virtual.
Flags are frequent, bookshelves are hugely popular. And orchids! I've seen more of those in the last nine months than I have in life before the pandemic. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of a microwave. There are lots of contemporary paintings too.
I am loving that working with our favorite things behind us is perfectly reasonable now, fully accepted. They are telling stories like never before about how we live and showcase our surroundings.
But remote working has introduced a new chore - looking behind before getting on a zoom and having a gamut of ugh! moments. The sunlight is highlighting the dust on my printer. Why are the books on the shelf falling over. Seriously, a hammer?!
On the upside, our study has never been this organized in YEARS! No stray papers on the desk, no shoes, and no bags, blankets and jackets strewn about! All the lamps are working. Hell, even the window panes are spotless. These are the unexpected benefits of a raging pandemic.
Then there are the fancy virtual backgrounds of Golden Gate Bridge, libraries, parks, and beaches. Attendees float in and out of these images like apparitions. It is hard not to chuckle when half a head blends into the background. I understand that virtual images standardize our varied meeting spaces and I appreciate taking our differences off the table.
Still, they make me chuckle.
I know, I ought not to make light of a grave situation that is impacting so many people in unexpected and horrible ways. But finding humor to keep trudging in this semi-Martian existence has its benefits. There is a crop of artists, photographers and meme-makers who are having a blast with zoom backgrounds. Just google it and you will find endless options, some hilarious.
This one I found on Pinterest takes me back to a time and tone from four decades ago. That tone - wow! - definitely a blast from the past!