Photo: Adobe Stock

Now that we have been semi-tethered to our homes and surrounding communities due to COVID, video calls have gone from novelty to necessity. Seriously, folks, for a gal who has a love-hate relationship with technology, video calls, Zoom, FaceTime and Skype now hold a special place in my heart.

Before COVID, I would “zoom” around the North Fork, California and beyond. Nowadays, Zoom video meetings have kept me sane, well partially. I was all in when some of my favorite groups began hosting zoom meetings.

Since we inhabit one little box (think Hollywood Squares) there is no dress code. If you are like me, a nice top and some makeup and voilà! Good to go.

Or you can come as you are: A stained shirt and spinach between your teeth, perhaps? We can join in our undies, sweats, with bare feet and no one is the wiser.

As a rule, I have a problem passing the cosmetic aisle in CVS or find myself at ULTA (I think the GPS is set for that store.) I surprised myself by going bare-faced and living in sweats during the lockdown stage of COVID.

When we gingerly began to emerge from our hiding places, I found that mask-wearing eliminated a lot — including the virus. However, wearing a mask, eyeglasses and makeup is not a winning combination.

That changed when I began to attend Zoom meetings. Seeing those dear faces gave me such a lift that I decided to revert to my former “face” complete with earrings.

Because of technology many folks were able to continue to work, our kids (although not ideal) were able to learn. Folks who live alone were able to communicate with the outside world, rendering them less isolated. Some folks are enjoying virtual cocktail hours and dinner. I had two virtual visits with my physicians.

And there is this: Many of you know my family lives in California. Zoom, FaceTime and video calls have become the sole way to connect with them. I have not met my new granddaughter Nova Malia born on June 15. The airlines, aka flying petri dishes, makes travel prohibitive.

I do get daily photos and we FaceTime often. I suppose we could do a video dinner. My heart constricts when Luca says “Ammie you come plane?” How do you explain to a 3-year-old about the invisible enemy? Nova Malia is growing and changing daily. I am missing her infancy — and who knows how much more I will miss.

I cannot hold her, snuggle her neck, smell that new baby smell and check out her fingers and toes. I cannot be Luca’s toy — he likes me to transform into an airplane, car, or truck. I cannot walk with him through the Redwoods nor sit with him on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. I cannot hear the excitement in his voice when he spots a whale.

I cannot cook a great Italian meal for my kids, nor help with their household. My son looks tired. This is fire season in Northern California. Jeff is charged with protecting 500,000 acres of forest. My daughter-in-law Cassandra, a biologist, is returning to work soon. She will be doing a lot of juggling.

Ah, me! A lot of cannots!

I hate to admit it, even to myself, but because of my age, I am in a high-risk category. Geez! When I broached my physician about flying, he who has dubbed me “super ager” said: “You are in great health, I want to keep you that way. Remember, Celia your lungs are ….” (mentioned my age). In a span of a week, I went from super-ager to being classified as an older demographic who is vulnerable to COVID.

I am reminded of Carol King’s lyrics: “So far away. Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore? It would be so fine to see your face at my door. It doesn’t help to know you are time away.”
I suppose my current love for technology gives me an illusion that brings me and my family closer together. But in my heart of hearts it only highlights the distance.

My beautiful friend Judy, who died last year, would often say when life threw a curve ball: “It is not perfect; but It is enough.”

I echo her words: It is not perfect; but it is enough. It will have to be, for now.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.