As the lockdown seems to sort of stretch further ahead and when those like me who feel uncomfortable shoulder to shoulder in a beer garden closes the door and continues her online interactions I question the importance of digital liability and ultimately how invested we are in plans when they fall behind a screen. How we choose to cancel so frivolously and how we think nothing of cancelling? Because you don’t see a physical face or have to leave the house does that make plans any less concrete? The idea that someone isn’t going anywhere or making any effort so what effect does it ultimately have on the relationship if we postpone our plans yet again for the umpteenth time as we try to navigate the abundance of time spent in the home.
I myself am guilty of this. Sometimes I just don’t want to stick my spotty makeup-free face up close to a camera and smile when I am pooped. Oh, wait yeah I am pooped from doing nothing much seeing as I haven’t left the house in a few days so why is that? After much deliberation, I find the answer in that like many others I am mentally exhausted. The intensity of video calls is something quite laughable you might think but after pondering I do think that the situation of a zoom call is equal to having your eyes pinned open for your entire brunch with the girls and a head brace to ensure you can only stare at each other constantly throughout. It’s a pathetic thing to complain about I know but hear me out I think I am not alone in this thought whether conscious or subconscious I know lots of people are feeling the digital strain.
The approach to various stimulants and society norms seems to have an influence on how seriously we respond to that next zoom chat, quiz, catch up or walk. In these unusual times, I can’t say I have pulled my diary out once and the expanse of time stretching further ahead with no deadline make it seem unnecessary to bring back the pen and paper. Is the lack of committing via ink on paper a factor? Could it be the lack of structure around the plans which throws us off-kilter, the working week now is a blurred vision of PJ bottoms and moving from desk chair to sofa minimising my commute time from 1 hour to 1 minute. What working week you ask? It feels like only yesterday it was April and yet here we are halfway through the summer. And equally, it feels like I work continuously without the car journey to break up the day.
Ok so that’s me complaining about life like pretty much everyone else but I came here to discuss the importance of digital planning. What is it that makes them feel so easy to cancel?
The lack of touch and body language plays a more important role than you first think. A friend said to me she misses the touch of her friends and I align so much with that. Laughing in person slapping your thigh or touching a shoulder in a heartfelt moment doesn’t translate to video calls and at times can make you feel that touch lonelier.
We have NO PLANS
Yep, I have zero plans the only thing dictating my life at the moment is how I feel and tuning into more of what my body needs. If I am tired can I really be bothered to smile constantly for another 3-hour quiz with the same questions we’ve had for the past 6 weeks? No, the answer is no I cannot!
I am bored of video chats
As the above video chats lack the physicality and they ultimately can be boring. The awkward silences intensified, the jumpy internet connection and same old chat about what little we have been doing. We tried spicing things up with stupid quizzes and again I would rather poke my own eyes out than listen to general knowledge questions.
This is the killer for me. I spend hours staring at a screen for work and my eyes are aching so do I really want to them have to use my brainpower and stare at a screen again to sit through all of the above? Before lockdown, I was trying to minimise my screentime and I feel as though I bounce between laptop, phone and TV, I swear it is rotting my brain or my eyes at least!
Anyway, whatever the reason it’s important to acknowledge how you feel if plans or cancelled or indeed if you are the one cancelling the plans. Are you relieved? If you just can’t be bothered with a digital chat but are invested in your friendships then make more solid plans like a walk or a picnic in the park. If you’re feeling drained then open up and tell your friends they understand and there is nothing worse than pathetic excuses. This isn’t forever and as things return to normal one thing I will take out of it are those who despite feeling everything mentioned in this post still drag their sorry little asses onto zoom just to see me and for those special people, I am eternally grateful. so now I will go and snuggle down with some music blaring from my machine but a book in hand to get lost in the pages rather than the screen.