March 31


A Love Letter to Skype

By Celeste DeCamps

March 31, 2020

#familytime, #skype, #socialdistancing, #thejetsons, #zoom

I love Skype and Zoom. Right now, I wish I had bought stock in both. I’ve used these platforms for years but not as much as I’m doing these last few weeks. This invisible enemy that we are dealing with means we need to be socially responsible. We need to stay as isolated as we can to help stem the tide of this pandemic. Many of us are fortunate to have the technology to stay in contact with each other. 

The fact that I can hang out with my family and friends over the internet helps tremendously. It keeps the feeling of loneliness at bay. It helps to share stories and have a few laughs. I still marvel at how far we’ve come in our communication capabilities. I never believed I would be around long enough to live like the Jetsons. I’m still waiting to have my own Rosie the Robot Maid. Sorry, but Rumba is just not there yet. 

Growing up, calling long distance was expensive. I remember my mother telling me and my brothers and sisters not to answer the phone one night. Our grandmother was due back in Kentucky after she visited us in Florida. The phone was going to ring twice and that would be her signal that she had arrived home. We all sat around the table waiting for the phone to ring and pretending that we were going to answer it anyway. We were so easily amused back then. 

Fast forward and now to answer the phone I have to make sure that my room looks neat and clean before I can take a video call. Yes, I know I can blur the background. The problem for me is that it feels like I’m trying to cover up a lie and everyone knows the truth. I also have to decide if I’m going to Skype from my desktop or my laptop. If it’s a personal call then I use my desktop. I don’t have to explain the background that my family and friends see. They already know I have a collection of creepy dolls that sit on top of a large display cabinet. A cabinet that is filled with bottles of wine and liquor. They know I’m not an alcoholic that pretends her dolls are her children. At least I hope they don’t think that. I can’t take that chance when I’m on a business call. I’m sure they wouldn’t believe any explanation I gave anyway. 

I do miss the days of just answering the phone in my jammies. Now when people call they want to face time. I have to be dressed in clothes, my hair done and my makeup on. In other words, I have to look like a human being and not just sound like one. When I have the option to hit audio only, it’s somehow perceived as being rude. I’m not trying to hide, I’m trying to save you from the shock of seeing me in the bathroom. My husband once answered a face time call and tried to angle the phone so it didn’t look like he was on the toilet. It didn’t work. 

My dad is the opposite of me. He doesn’t particularly like the communication advances that have happened over the years. He started complaining when we got call waiting. He just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. He inadvertently hung up on anybody that called in while he was on the other line. We used to tell our friends that if they ever wanted to hear what a busy signal sounded like they could call my dad.

I remember the first time I showed my dad a video call. I was visiting him when my husband called. We were FaceTiming and I turned the phone to my dad so Eric could say Hi. My father looked at me incredulously. “Can Eric see me?” I said, “Yes, go ahead and talk to him.” All my dad could say was, “Oh for gosh sakes!” I looked at him and said “Welcome to the 21st Century. We’re so glad you made it.” You have to understand my dad still uses a flip phone. He says he doesn’t need a smart phone and he never will. He keeps telling me that we don’t need this kind of technology. His argument to me is always “What did we do before these cell phones?” My answer is always “Well, we would hope that when we got a flat tire that there would be a gas station in walking distance. We would also hope that the pay phone at the gas station was working and wouldn’t give us a disease.” My dad would then stop taking my calls for a while.  

The best person I enjoy Skyping is my seven-year-old nephew, Kent. We always have wonderful conversations because he has so many interests. We discuss the news, politics (he is a Bernie supporter) and the Titanic. He is an expert on the history of The Titanic and we discuss it at great length. Kent also enjoys doing magic for me. It’s better than any show on TV. I’m very grateful that I can visit with him safely and enjoy his company. 

We all need each other more than ever. Don’t wait for someone to call you. Reach out to a friend or family member and catch up. It’s important to share our concerns and find a way to keep our spirits up. Just remember to tidy up first and comb your hair. 

About the author

Celeste DeCamps has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Miami. She worked in radio and television, was a professional belly dancer, drummer, percussionist, nightclub owner, and a sales rep for Southern Wine and Spirits for 12 years. Throughout her different career moves, speaking to and teaching women how to be more confident is Celeste's most fulfilling job.

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