When it comes to computer technology – the quotidian kind that most normal modern people welcome and embrace – I’ve always been late to the party. Or I’ve avoided the party altogether.

My resistance has stemmed from fairly understandable reasons, I think; among them: Staring at screens hurts my eyes, I refuse to be enslaved by a machine, and I believe I was born in the wrong century.

Even as a child, when television was new, watching it gave me headaches. I preferred to play outdoors than be glued to the TV screen in the living room, the way the other kids were. As it turned out, I’m very far-sighted; so it’s more comfortable for my eyes to look far into the distance – past the treetops, into the hills — than it is to try to focus on anything close.

Today, although I have specially prescribed computer glasses, I still get eye strain when I spend time in front of a screen. So I’m quick to close the lid on this laptop and go outside for a pleasant walk.

I remember a science professor in college pontificating (or was he prophesying?) about the future of computers. They would one day learn to replicate themselves — with mutations! — he stressed. They would take over the world, he claimed. Humans would be their slaves, he said.

“Oh, no!” I thought, as I sat in his enormous class. “Not I! I won’t let that happen to me!” And from that point on, I somehow, somewhere down deep, considered computers my adversaries. I didn’t want to live in a world where they ruled. I ran from them, running as far away as Africa.

As for my preferred century, I think I would choose the mid- to late-19th. During the years I was doing research for and writing my novel Jamie’s Muse, based on what little I knew about my great-grandmother, Helen Reid David Black (b. May 3, 1862, in Kirriemuir, Scotland; d. 1885(?) in Natal, South Africa), I felt at times that I was living then – during the Industrial Revolution. I was happy to be walking in Helen’s shoes and seeing life through her eyes as I strove to recreate the dramatic story of her short life. I felt at home there and then.

A sign I recently found on Facebook and couldn’t resist including here

But here I am now, a misfit in the high-tech Information Age, in which computers, for good or ill, play an outsize role. Haltingly, I’m trying to make peace with them, trying to see their benefits, as if I were a visitor from another era.

This week, for example, my friend Be Scott in Taos, New Mexico, taught me how to do Zoom. (Yes, I’m really late to this party. Zoom Video Communications was founded in 2011.)

Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold last March, however, Zoom’s “cloud-based, peer-to-peer software platform” (I’m quoting Wikipedia), used for “teleconferencing, telecommuting, and distance education,” has taken off. And I find myself being slowly won over by this technological wonder. (If you’re new to Zoom too, please read Be’s “Zoom Guide for Beginners,” below.)

Imagine being able to SEE dozens and dozens of my WOW subscribers, friends and family, from all over the world, all in one place (on one screen!) when I do my December 6thZoom reading, sponsored by SOMOS (the Society of the Muse of the Southwest) in Taos!

No need to purchase airline tickets this time, as I did two years ago, to read for SOMOS in Taos. No need to risk catching the coronavirus. We can be together (well, virtually) again, face to face. What a thrilling thought!

For this event I’ll be reading short essays from my new “baby” book, Sweet Tarts for my Sweethearts (Nighthawk Press, Taos, NM), most of which I wrote while I was still living in Taos, before I came here to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to retire.

Time permitting, I’ll also give a brief demo on tart baking, explaining some of the special equipment and techniques involved. And, too, I’ll take questions from attendees at the end. We can have an almost-in-person, back-and-forth across the miles and oceans.

So please save the date:

Sunday, December 6that 4 pm US Mountain Time.

All are invited to attend, and it’s free of charge, of course. Closer to the date, I’ll be providing more information as needed. And maybe by that time I’ll be a pro at zooming! This is one computer party I don’t want any of us to miss. I’d love to see you there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zoom Guide for Beginners 

by Be Scott

If you’ve never used Zoom before, you’ll need to download and run an app. Then you’ll have it in your system and shouldn’t have to download it again.

Here’s how to do it: In your browser, go to https://zoom.us/download. The first option is Zoom Client for Meetings. Click on the Download button.

The app will be downloaded into your Downloads folder. Open your folder and find a file with an open yellow box that says Zoom.pkg. Double click to open, and you will get the message “Welcome to the Zoom Installer.”

In the bottom right-hand corner of that window, click on Continue. Then click on Install for all users of this computer. Again click on Continue.

Another message will tell you how much space the app will take on your computer. Click on Install. It will show your name and ask for your system password. (That means the password you use to make significant changes to your computer.) Enter your password, and the app will automatically go to the next menu. Click on Close Application and Install.

At the end, it will ask you if you want to trash the installer. Click yes.

The next window to pop up should be a Zoom window with two options: Join a Meeting and Sign In. Click on Join a meeting and enter the Meeting ID. It will also ask for your name.

Might as well check the box next to Remember my name for future meetings. Below that, there are two more options: Don’t connect to audio and Turn off my video. Don’t click either of these unless you don’t want to be seen or heard.

19 thoughts on “Zooming”

  1. Yippee! I’ll be there! Too bad – I suppose there won’t be any tasty samples of your tarts! Darn – maybe Zoom can solve that problem before then.

  2. I received my “Sweet Tarts for my Sweethearts” book from Amazon. Haven’t had a chance to try any of the recipes. Will try the
    Lemon Tart again, soon. Looking forward to the Zoom meeting. Sending ♥️♥️ your way.

  3. Dear Bon,

    Sometimes I spend my day on Zoom, and at the end of it I am worn out. I’m experiencing screen fatigue daily for the first time in my career.
    On a more positive note, I am looking forward to your reading! I will definitely be there.


    1. So happy to know you’ll be there, Paul dear! Yes, “screen fatigue” — I empathize. I know it would be almost impossible for me to teach now, as you must do, every day via Zoom. — xx

  4. Ah, yes. You speak for us all, Bonnie. Learning Zoom was not a walk in the part for me, either, and I’m still not it’s biggest fan. But I sure do like taking a class with people in Toronto and Colorado!

  5. I was happy to see that your reading is at 4pm (is that CST?), as on that same day, at 6pm, Richard Blanco gives his keynote in the SMA Writers ‘ Conference, and I would so hate if you two were in competition for people’s attention. Why don’t you ask your friend who helped you to Zoom how to record your talk (or maybe she could do it for you), then you could put it on YouTube, on your web-site, and probably other places, too. This was done for me when I had my recent reading for the SMA Prose Café, and I’m so grateful.

      1. Cynthia, I just googled it, and here’s what I learned: “If it is noon in the Eastern Time Zone it is one hour earlier in each successive zone. Therefore … Central Standard Time (CST) is one hour ahead of Mountain Standard Time (MST).”

  6. Thank you Bonnie. I agree. I downloaded Zoom for UUFSMA Sunday services and now use it for a variety of reasons. Look forward to more info on your reading.

  7. Bonniedear, now I know why you’re so tech averse. And good for you! You’ve found a balance, where too much screen time is a good indication that you need to go outside and take a walk.

    On another note, the Zoom meeting is at 4 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, which is 5 p.m. San Miguel time, as long as San Miguel goes off Daylight Saving Time like we do.

    What a good opportunity for all your blogpost readers to see each other, too! Arti, Paul, Helaine, Pamela, Michael! I almost feel like I know them, too, because I always read their comments!

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