Friday 27 January 2023
HomeExpat FocusFrom Boomers to Zoomers

From Boomers to Zoomers

Expat FocusFrom Boomers to Zoomers

QCOSTARICA – We are now in the Zoom era. For some of us “of a certain age,” as the French say, these Zoom meetings can be quite challenging. I know of a group of pensioners who tried to meet on Zoom but after a few fraught attempts, threw in the towel.

“Second-graders can manage Zoom!” my teenage son scoffed. But second-graders are practically born with a USB cable next to their umbilical cord. Their first word isn’t “mama” but rather “YouTube.”

Those of us over forty, however, are still learning to navigate these treacherous waters. It’s already a cliché that people only dress their top halves now for video conferences, but the problem arises when they forget to turn off their video feed afterwards, as happened to a guy I know.

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After the goodbyes, he stood up for an up-close crotch shot wearing only his BVDs. And we’ve all heard of the woman went to the bathroom while still on Zoom.

I sympathize with these people, because when I had my first Zoom yoga class, I thought, Ah, how blissful to finally let my gut spill out of my spandex, since no one can see me, only to choke when the instructor told me to straighten my back. “Wha?” I blinked. “He can see me?” Thank god I had pulled on some gym clothes for the class, rather than just doing it in my undies as I had originally considered. I’d have had to switch yoga studios. Maybe even move house.

There are other pitfalls, however. For yoga, I basically copy the instructor and listen to his instructions, a la Twister. But as for my sewing classes, I have a hard enough time when my teacher’s next to me. Luckily, I already had the pattern for the gym jacket I was making. The rest was easy, I thought. My teacher even went to the trouble of cutting mini pieces of fabric in the shape of mine to demonstrate the steps, yet still I was flummoxed. What L shape?

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I didn’t dare sew until I was 100% sure I was doing it correctly, as experience had taught me I could end up wasting an entire two-hour class ripping up stitches and starting all over again, to the tune of my wailing, all because I had cockily assumed I knew right from left.

It took me two and a half classes but I finally finished my jacket. Proudly, I snipped the last thread. It looked terrific. I rushed over to my mirror and tried it on. Success! I then stuck my phone and water bottle in the pockets, whereupon the whole thing collapsed under their weight. It looked like my pockets were melting. And I hadn’t even filled the bottle with water yet!

“Oh no!” my teacher cried. “You cut the fabric width-wise and not length-wise!”

“You didn’t tell me!” I had the gall to complain.

“You’ve been coming to classes for two years now!” she retorted. The subtext being: How could you forget that, you dumbass?!

Though I am forced to admit that I am indeed a dumbass who forgets Lesson One, I must also present my defense: A) I am close to sixty and have a tendency to forget things I knew two years ago.  Even two days ago. And B) This would never have happened if we had been in the same room together! She would have seen me turning the fabric the wrong way and would have stopped me cold.

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This whole virtual reality is a minefield, at least for those of us who weren’t weaned at its technological teat. It’s just one accident after another waiting to happen, from inadvertent exhibitions of one’s private parts to wasting two and a half classes, hunched over a sewing machine, to manufacture Quasimodo’s outerwear.

Why, for instance, have I been doing so much home cooking?

Because I keep screwing up Uber Eats! No! I wanted the Pad Thai! I pressed the wrong one! My fingers are too fat, my eyes are too weak, and my brain is too clunky. Yes, the Internet has been a life-saver in these trying times. But for some of us, it’s just one more hurdle to leap.

And my leaping days are over. Just ask my knees.

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Galya Gerstman
Galya Gerstman was born in New Jersey and studied Creative Writing and French Literature at Columbia University. She taught French Literature at Tel Aviv University before relocating to Costa Rica, where she married a Costa Rican and raised two sons and a daughter. Her mother’s family immigrated to Palestine at the turn of the 20th century and served as inspiration for her novel, Women of Jerusalem. Her father is a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to New Jersey and is the subject of her latest book.

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