Jay Beeler

A reader recently shared the thought that “If you thought toilet paper was crazy, just wait until 300 million people all want a haircut appointment!” That got me to thinking about the things that will be different three or six months from now.

What have you missed the most, besides getting that occasional “fluff and a blow dry” at the hair salon? If you said you miss the personal contact with family, friends and co-workers, I’d beg to differ. Thanks to Zoom, our contact with others has improved.

For instance, those weekly Rotary luncheons usually held on the Queen Mary now involve an average of 75 fellow members via Zoom. What’s different is that I can now see a name adjacent to each face, which isn’t possible in a room filled with 100-plus members. Our club no longer has a small directory where I can learn about new members. Zoom solves that problem by showing three pages of names and faces with 25 participants per page.

We see family members in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Washington, Oregon and California more frequently now via Zoom. Sometimes you’d have to wait for a Christmas newsletter to learn who was getting married, was pregnant, etc.

So, it all boils down to a very few things that we miss the most, except for standing in long lines. There’s an advantage to be a senior citizen with special early morning grocery shopping hours – unless you are not an early riser.

Restaurants and retail stores are greatly missed, but that’s going to change. My wife has been craving clam chowder on Fridays and we haven’t found that as a take-out item. When we return to inside dining, I hope we’ll be able to understand our masked server asking in a muffled voice “Wha wood you lack to odor?”

At our offices I will miss the interns that we have each semester. Cal State Fullerton is already planning to have us continue the tradition in a virtual environment. Gone will be the opportunity to review their stories one-on-one or teach them how to upload stories to the internet. Gone will be the occasional Crooked Duck lunches where we can discuss their career path following graduation.

Our dozen-plus columnists, writers and advertising representatives already work from home, so there’s no office scenes like yesteryear showing rows of desks in huge open spaces, as shown in movies like “All the President’s Men.”

I predict that the greatest business change we’ll see is more employees working from home with current office spaces converted to apartment use.

Thankfully those Zoom cameras won’t reveal any home-based employees still wearing their pajama bottoms with a Bloody Mary in their coffee cup and the family pet afoot.


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