Covid Work Diaries

So I’m having a zoom English lesson today.

Me in a room by myself at a laptop. Somewhere around eight or nine kids, between the ages of two and seven, in three separate households are participating in this thing.

Forty minutes, I have to fill.

So this is my life now.

Okay. Let’s get it on.

Thirty minutes in: it’s going okay. Then it all falls apart.

I’m sitting in this empty room, staring at a screen with four video feeds on it. In one of them is me. In two of them is the empty voids of ceilings: the smartphones delivering these feeds have been set down on a table or the floor and left alone, apparently.

In the the last feed sits a mother, stone faced and unmoving. There are no children around her. There have been no children near her for some time.

At least one child is crying at the top of their lungs. Somewhere. Wails of anguish roll out of the computer at me. I cannot tell which feed is delivering this misery to me.

But there I sit, I shit you not, singing: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Doing all the actions for the webcam.

The crying child wails. The mother continues to stare at me stone faced. I finish my song and say goodbye to the abyss and close the feed.

This was the highlight of my day.

What that mother might have taken away from it, I can only imagine.

Hashtag: telework is awesome!

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