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860 – Zoom was great but now?

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

During the pandemic, I could not say enough about how great it was to have Zoom for get-togethers for family (some in B.C.) and to be ‘virtually present’ at weddings and even funerals. Every week I would be on Zoom with some buddies with mutual interests. Along with that, my wife and I started a group before the pandemic that we call “Prophets of Hope.” The second Tuesday evening of every month, 10 to 15 of us who were mostly retired, and previously were involved in education, would get together at our place for coffee and what we call a “check-in” whereas people share about how their past month had been. We then get into some quotes and discussion on one of the 12 Spiritual Principles, which are a large part of all major world religions. Those Spiritual Principles are Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly/Sisterly Love, Discipline, Perseverance, Spiritual Awareness and Service.

Now with things opening up, we hope once again to reconvene with our Prophets group at our place and to do something that we had not done in a long time…hug! A group of my friends used to meet weekly at a church for discussions on spirituality and our mutual interests. There was a small window when we were allowed back into the church as long as health guidelines followed and as a result we ceased to do our Zoom meetings. The problem was that before the pandemic, we might get about 20 people to our gatherings. Some of our group are older and were not computer literate and therefore we missed them on Zoom. Thus I am excited that we can once again meet at our old meeting place starting in September…and hopefully we will see those of us who were not able to do Zoom.

So what will happen now with those that were so used to Zoom? I’m guessing we might lose a few folks who were so used to sitting at home and chatting it up on Zoom. Will they now readily get into the cars and make the 10 to 30 minute drive to gather again? I’m thinking some will not bother because they could sit at their computer in their grubby clothes and no one would know the difference. Or a few liked to smoke, and could not do that during “live meetings” but could do it during Zoom! Also there are those that still might not feel comfortable gathering again unless we knew that everyone was fully vaccinated!

I fear the same thing may happen with shopping. I know as a senior I need to get out and walk and try to be active – grocery shopping or picking up items at Canadian Tire, etc., was a way of avoiding the laziness (some would say convenience) of just doing it all online. I had a bad experience buying boots last winter during COVID when I had to order online and pick it up at the store without being allowed to go in and try them on. Sure enough, while the boots looked great and were the proper size, they would rub against my calves as I walked…so I had to return them.

Will folks start hitting their favourite stores again? Will we check the quality and price of items, or will we revert to places like Amazon, and contribute to Jeff Bezos’s space adventures while his employees never share in the profits of the executives. In fact, during the pandemic, Amazon’s profits rose 200 per cent…wonder how many employees even had a 5 per cent raise during that period?

Billionaires as a class have added about one trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began. Roughly 20 per cent of that total went into the pockets of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame.

We all know how much small businesses have suffered during the pandemic. One just has to walk down any main street and see how many storefronts are now empty. So, please folks, consider getting back into the habits we had before the pandemic. Zoom and online shopping served their purpose, but now support our local businesses and drop the word “virtual” from our gatherings.

I’m at getting ready to give lots of hugs again.