By Jackson Monroe, OneClick.chat
It’s like we live in a disaster movie. Scratch that; an alien invasion show where they walk among us, and I’ve been having a hard time. We now live in a world where in person communication is difficult, where avoiding others is normal. I realized this as I walked down the snack aisle at my local Kroger, searching for Hint of Lime tortilla chips. As I pushed my cart to the side to let a woman roll by, I gave a nice, warm smile and was met with nothing, a blank stare back. My mask hid a form of communication, a way to connect with someone. Hers may have locked up a smile, too. It separated me from the world I live in, the people in my community. At the cash register, I realized I read lips while listening because I had to ask the cashier three separate times to repeat herself when all I needed to say was “card.” Muffled words are traded, smiles and handshakes are lost. Communicating in the real world has become a struggle.
Now that everyone looks away as you walk down the street, holds his breath when passing by, and attempts to read only the creases of a forehead, the twitch of an eyebrow, in a conversation, I feel alone. I feel lost. Like many people, I have started exercising more in my neighborhood, going on walks with my two dogs or runs, but the normal neighborly greeting has changed. Beelines to the other side of the road replace a “hey” and wave as if I were a run-away freight train on a sidewalk, not the someone they watched grow up. Right now, the outside world does not want to talk.
This has paved the way for socializing on video chat. No more masks, hidden facial expressions, or absences of emotion, but full faces, smiles, and laughs. Even though it’s through a screen, I can understand what everyone is saying, I’m actually talking to my friends and family, and I get that release of social activity that I crave while being locked inside for hours throughout the day. It is hard to communicate when you can’t see someone’s mouth. You lose lip reading, large facial expressions, and fully audible sentences. In the Covid-19 world, I can’t be near anyone to shake hands either, and these things make in person communication lose a part of what makes it special.
We are all new at this, living in a world where being close to one another is frightening. We cower in corners, cling to edges of any room or space. We have lost common manners and niceties. No one is doing this on purpose, but this uncommunicative behavior obscures the warmth and playfulness of a personality. My phone doesn’t even see my smile, see me. It’s weird and strange and different.
Video chatting saves my need to be around others, to talk and listen, laugh and sigh. No longer do the buildings and roads outside my home bring me connections and worthwhile social interactions. Video chat does. I can see my friends and family. Talk with them like I haven’t been able to in months. Watch a face light up or an amused smile that has to exist in every conversation among friends. Since I began working at OneClick.chat, I have realized the value of video chat. Of course I miss face-to-face conversations, but this is the best I am going to get. OneClick allows for me to be social in a way that, at this moment, doesn’t exist without a screen. On top of that, it’s quick, and hassle-free, and even the technologically challenged, like myself or my grandparents, can use it. There’s nothing like a real conversation, the in person kind where you can explore a topic, learn something new, meet new people, collaborate, or just plain chat. And many people today are frustrated. Now, in times when it seems the world has abandoned real conversations and communication, OneClick.chat hasn’t. Video chats let the world smile.
Photo credits: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images