Access

Since the shutdown started last year, one of the best things in my life has been online chatting.

(Screen shot/Sharon P. Lynn)

I’ve been a fan of the magic of the internet since I went back to school in the early 1980s. I was working for a publisher who was an early adopter of computers and those schreechy dial-up modems. I was able to take one of our “trash 80s” — a Texas Instruments keyboard with a minuscule memory — to campus with me. Between classes, I’d find a table in the student center near enough to an outlet that I could plug it into, and work through stacks of articles that I needed to edit.

I much prefer the tablet I’m writing on now to that “trash 80,” but the principle of portable computing power has always appealed to me.

And now that I can connect to online chats, it’s even better.

Since last March, I have “zoomed” to conferences and conversations with people all over the world. The first one was with folks in Italy, one of the earliest and worst-hit by the coronavirus. Just last night, I had a chat with siblings from my Sisters in Crime Chicagoland chapter.

Chicagoland stretches at least half-way across the stateline with Wisconsin (that would be me), and at least as far south as Champaign (hi, Robert). And neither of us would have made it to our 6:30 p.m. chapter meeting if it had been one of the pre-COVID-19, in person meetings at a book store, or library, or coffee shop in the city. Even one of the women who lives in Chicago might not have made it because of mobility problems.

I understand that some people crave face-to-face meetings. But I can only hope that the wonderful flexibility of online gatherings doesn’t go away just because in-person is becoming possible again.

One thought on “Access

  1. Oh, online meetings are here to stay and that’s a good thing. Working from home has also become a permanent thing, and that’s a good thing especially in bad climate times or terribly crowded highways fouling our air. I’m enjoying meeting in person as well. We now have more options, which makes the world more equal and fair for those who used to have a tough time traveling to meetings.

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