What We Lost

You know that moment in a meeting when somebody is saying something stupid, and you make eye contact with your buddy across the table, and you raise your brows ever so slightly, and the buddy smiles a little, and you know that you are understood. These moments of solidarity, friendship, humor, contact – they are all gone.

I’m not the most sociable person in the world, to put it mildly. But I really miss these moments.

I miss popping into a friend’s office every morning for a bit of gossip and giggling together over yet another edict from the administration.

I miss going to lunch before a departmental meeting and picking up colleagues along the way. The last time we did that was in February and we talked about COVID. Now I don’t have anybody at work to talk about COVID. I don’t have anybody to talk about anything. I have a huge box of candy in the office and nobody to share it with.

Why does nobody else miss it? Or miss it enough to do something? Get angry, protest, question things. Why does it make me an eccentric and a crank to mind losing all this?

10 thoughts on “What We Lost”

  1. This really touches a raw nerve.
    And all for what — for winning an election…Power (and maybe the hunger for it more than anything else) really corrupts and desensitises the people who wield it!

    You are not alone*

    *I wanted to indicate raised first after it, but then realized the irony and decided against.

    Like

  2. For years, i’ve come across articles and reports on the effect and importance of in-person communication because we rely so much on body language. Whether direct or implied, this body language is important to effective communication. We even have games to demonstrate the effects of barriers to communication that highlight the importance of visual communication.
    So many meetings have the added burden of diminished confidence directly related to loss of visual cues and added distractions such as induced noise due to bad connections, etc.
    Truly bizarre that we keep up this sham of productivity; and we see articles on how to cope, but not articles on how destructive this is to community.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have long ago stopped initiating these little interludes because everyone is always so busy, I feel like I’m the only one with the time/will to gossip in the hallway or wanting to go grab lunch/coffee. Sure, everybody is friendly, but I always feel like I’m imposing with my chatter and the other party can’t wait to get away from me and get on the next thing they’ve got planned. When we do get together for lunch (scheduled weeks in advance), the time is highly constrained (obligations before and after), so it doesn’t feel like a respite but rather like yet another thing everyone checks off their to-do list.

    Like

      1. Btw, you mention a huge box of candy. None of my colleagues are interested in candy, it’s really disheartening. Everyone is watching their figure/health, and these days I feel ashamed to even have candy on hand, let alone be seen enjoying it.

        Honestly, interacting with writers on Twitter since I started writing fiction has been a godsend for my mental health. My friendly boring health-conscious vice-free colleagues have made my soul shrivel. (Kind of like here. Not as dramatic, but in a similar vein: http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/07/03/death-of-a-soul-on-campus/)

        Like

        1. Wow, that’s totally Illinois! People are exactly the way they are described in this article. I’ve kind of accepted it over the years but it’s definitely true that people here are extremely challenged in the sociability department.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I’m thrilled that my comment elsewhere led to the publication of a brand new post 🙂
    I am also concerned about how this lack of casual solidarity and human connection is making everybody just go along with whatever agenda (typically on the woke side) management/administration is trying to promote.
    I am in the UK not US. Yet, my department/other pockets at my university, as well as my national professional organization, all felt that they had to say or do something in support of BLM after George Floyd was murdered. I am not sure this would have happened in the pre-Zoom era. Yes we were getting slowly there, but I feel the zoomification of the university and the accompanying constant need to virtue-signal played a very important role. No opportunities to talk in private to colleagues and see if they really believe in all this (my experience in the past is that a couple did, but most did not). Perhaps even the fear that if you act bored, impatient or indifferent during a meeting where such things are discussed – which seemed to be people’s favourite tactic to avoid these things, rather than open confrontation – you may be filmed and publicly denounced on social media as a racist (this actually did happen to a Professor of Theatre in the US).

    Like

    1. Yes, I remember. He was Romanian and was considered THE authority on theatre studies. He had to go through his ordeal with the Woke-academy commissars in a hiring procedure when he had the gall to insist on the best qualified candidate, who was White, which to them was a disqualifying characteristic per se. He had to capitulate and the committee hired a BIPOC fourth-rate nincompoop. He likened this experience to the worst episodes of Communist-inspired hysteria under Ceausescu rule – had to resign and I think he has now come back to Europe.

      The question is: how long will it be before this madness holds sway over my beloved continent ? The UK is pretty far gone but I’m not sure that the rest of Europe can feel confident: we have already been colonised culturally by the American Empire in other areas, I’m not so sure we won’t be in this one, eventually.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.