One exciting thing about being alive at this pivotal moment in history is that I’m constantly learning about strong opinions I didn’t previously know I had. Before mid-March 2020, if you’d asked me how I felt about videoconferencing, I’d have shrugged. It’s fine? Now I would have to amend that opinion slightly. It’s not fine. It’s horrible, a form of psychic torture, and I hate it so deeply that my hatred feels physical, like an allergic reaction.
This allergy isn’t caused by my adult professional experiences: I can force myself to participate in online panels and meetings and literary events (though I will not, I’m sorry, attend my extended family’s weekly Zoom happy hour). I can plan ahead and deal with the sucked-dry, brain-dead exhaustion that follows a Zoom-heavy day. My hatred comes, rather, from having coached my 5-year-old son Raffi through virtual schooling in the spring. And I’m dreading the fall, when his kindergarten class will be conducted at least partially, and possibly entirely, remotely. I’m eager to be proved wrong, but I suspect that for him and for my family, Zoom kindergarten might be worse than no school at all.