• I’ve enjoyed this chance to reconnect with friends and family and have actual conversations. (Instagram)Source: Instagram
Everything is on the table during our catch ups: Who is having sex whilst working from home? How is everyone coping with their kids? Who might be losing their job?
By
Lizzy Hoo

18 May 2020 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 18 May 2020 - 11:25 AM

It’s another Saturday night in isolation. Although this is one of the more memorable ones. I have just finished an epic five-hour Zoom for a friend’s birthday, which had all the hallmarks of a real party – those who left early because of family obligations, a pregnant friend tolerating her best mates sipping wine right in front of her and even an after party – with only hanger on-ers, myself included, slipping gears into D&M mode.

The Zoom was filled with some of my oldest friends. From people who knew my first kiss and my middle name to those who stood by my side after too many one dollar Bacardi Breezers in my uni days. It’s hard for us to get together in real life – a lot of us live interstate– but with isolation, spare time and this thing called Zoom, we all knew nothing about two months ago, we’ve been catching up every Saturday at 4pm.

Admittedly the first five minutes is just “Can you hear me?” “How do I get to tile mode? Are you on your laptop or iphone?” “You have to unmute… bottom left” “Are you wearing lipstick?”. Questions repeated every time someone new joins. Once everyone settles we easily slip into conversation like there aren’t hundreds of kilometres between us.

We share our grievances from the week, our worries and triumphs.

We share our grievances from the week, our worries and triumphs. It’s a good old-fashioned chin wag filled with laughter, gossip and genuine conversation. The kind of chat you had when you would spend all day with your best friend at school and as soon as you got home you would call them for another two-hour conversation.

Everything is on the table: Who is having sex whilst working from home? How is everyone coping with their kids? Who might be losing their job? And of course there are some overachievers – “Here look at my sourdough attempt”, “I’ve cured my own bacon” and “I’ve been doing the Chris Hemsworth workouts”, which is usually met with an audible “STOP IT!” and a hard mute from the Zoom host. In jest, of course. Kind of.

What’s been really nice is seeing into everyone’s homes and how they live. Not in a creepy way. We would usually meet out socially – at a restaurant or in a bar. But via Zoom you’re looking directly into a friend’s way of life. How they interact with their children and how much they are like your friends! What their houses are like and how little clothes they’re wearing in sunny Queensland (and how tanned they are!) compared to a rugged-up Melbourne participant huddled on the edge of her couch.

During the conversation, the mums are fending off their children coming in from all angles wanting to see what all the fuss is about.

During the conversation, the mums are fending off their children coming in from all angles wanting to see what all the fuss is about. I love it when a small freshly bathed nudey-rudey child runs across the screen for a hug from mum and a peak at the screen. Over the weeks they seemed to have gotten used to their mum’s Zoom catch ups, some even asking after people who couldn’t make it.

I’ve also noticed it’s not the people I see week to week in my “normal” life that I’m reaching out to for company and friendship, it’s those people I’ve known for a long time that I want to talk to and my family. I’m not sure why this is? Maybe it’s for comfort? To get a feeling of what life used to be like. Or maybe it takes a pandemic to filter out who really means something to you? Especially in an age of scrolling social media and likes.

My parents also live interstate and it’s been nice to chat with them on Facetime and Zoom. We’ve been reconnecting by sharing old family recipes and sending messages with pictures of what we cooked that night. Mothers Day was also on Zoom. With family calling in from Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. That would have never happened pre-pandemic.

With restrictions starting to ease in many states, I imagine the Zoom chats and the Facetimes might also start to ease. Hopefully not for good because I’ve enjoyed this chance to reconnect with friends and family and have actual conversations. It’s much nicer to see my friends laugh out loud than see hahaha written.

Now is a better time than any to reconnect with old friends. And I’m not talking about texting an ex – unless you really do want to reconnect with them. There’s also a great excuse to reach out –  “Hey so there’s a global pandemic going on I thought it might be nice to say hello!”

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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