Hay’s Daze: When zoomers sit down and zoom

By now, what with the pandemic lockdown and technology taking over the world I’m thinking that most of us have probably Zoomed whether we really wanted to or not. And by ‘Zoomed’ I mean I had a meeting on a computer or phone with one or more other people who appear with small faces on your screen like some non-celebrity game of Hollywood Squares.

Now, there are many other Meeting apps other than Zoom, including Webex and Google Meet but Zoom has become a proprietary eponym (I looked it up) or, simply, a generic trademark (I looked that up too.) You know, where a brand becomes so famous and common that its name comes to represent the entire line of products. Like, “Hand me a Kleenex” even though it’s a box of Scotties. Velcro, Chapstick, Band-Aid are used even when there are other brands of hook and loop fasteners, lip gloss and ouch, I cut my finger products. So, anyway, my two cousins and I had some sort of cyber meeting last night, and I’m calling it a Zoom – a Zoom by Zoomers.

But there’s some confusion when it comes to the definition of the term “Zoomer”. On one hand, you have “Generation Z” which the people who think these things up call those who were born in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and this is shortened to Zoomer because apparently the people who think these things up find it too exhausting to keep saying ‘Generation Z’.

On the other hand, you have the Zoomers identified by the popular Zoomer Magazine and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons as “elder baby boomers 50 years of age and older”. That’s the definition I’m going with on account of all three family members of our first Zoom meeting last night were definitely fossils.

So I hadn’t seen my two cousins in person or on the screen for over 30 years, David lives in Vancouver and his sister Singne lives on Bowen Island, and although I have fond memories of kicking around with them here in RD when we were much (much) younger, for some reason our journeys down the long and winding road have never come together since then.

I was a bit worried that we’d sign on and that my cousins would go, “Would you like to join us for a big rally protesting Bill Gates putting computer spying chips in vaccines?” and the other one would say, “Hey, I’ll send you my “Trump for President ’24!” T-shirt and hat.” But, thankfully, it was a special moment when the Zoom Meeting fired up.

Except, we couldn’t actually see David for quite a while. Oh, and when we could finally see him, we couldn’t actually hear him for a while. Also my face on the screen was so bright red (even more than usual) I looked like Clifford the Big Red Dog except not big and not a dog. Singne, whose name was Barbara when we were kids, changed her name because her father (my uncle-in-law) was Swedish, and her brother, who decided to remain “David”, turned out to be as expected: both smart, articulate and wonderful people.

Did we solve the world’s problems during our short visit? No, but we did talk about how one recently broke her ankle (Singne), one crushed a vertebra the other day slipping on the ice (David) and one messed up his shoulder this fall wiping out on a scooter (guess who). So we all agreed to be more careful Zoomer Fossils (Zomers??) but to do a lot more Zooming on Zoom until we can meet this summer. We should all be healed by then.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can send him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com

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