As the spread of coronavirus continues to change our lives on a daily basis, some of us have stopped to wonder: Where did all our quiet time go? Shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders mean we are all video chatting a lot more these days. At first, seeing the faces of friends and family on a screen seemed like a welcome balm to these uncertain times. But as the novelty wears off, and the Zoom hangovers are real, we realize the beauty of simply being … quiet. Below, the Cut’s staff explores our current reactions to digitally hanging out.
Allison Davis, features writer: How are we supposed to say no to video chats when we’re invited? I feel like my group-hangout-to-getting-stuff-done ratio is wild, but I can’t reject any requests for Zoom/Houseparty/FaceTime hangs? On Friday I had like six hours of FaceTime hangs, including a dance party, and I woke up hungover on Saturday and was like, “This is too much. What is this?” What I really wanted was to just make pizza dough and set up my Switch.
Amanda Arnold, staff writer: Yeah, I woke up hungover on Sunday after stopping by two Zoom parties the night before.
Callie Beusman, news editor: I agree. The social consequences of being alone is ruining my alone time.
Melissa Dahl, deputy editor: I am purposefully taking a night off from video chats tonight, which feels weird to have to decide to do while in isolation. It was my birthday this weekend, and I got so many impromptu FaceTimes, which I am just not used to! It was so nice but just, a lot.
Kelly Conaboy, writer-at-large: It was too much for me pretty much immediately, chatting over video makes me very uncomfortable. Like someone showing up unexpectedly at your front door.
Katie Heaney, senior writer: I’ve only had like three so far, I don’t mind them. But congratulations to everyone else for having so many friends.
Jordan Larson, essays editor: The week before last — when everything was changing rapidly — I just wanted to be talking to everyone all the time and sharing updates and seeing everyone’s faces. And now it’s like, yeah, this is still happening and it still sucks. I need some alone time.
Allison Davis: Yes, I just want to stop talking about things and do my comfort projects and read.
Allison Davis: The first great poem of the pandemic.
Matthew Schneier, features writer: I like Zooming okay, but I also like having private things I keep from it. I currently have a mustache that I won’t be sharing with anyone on Zoom. My self-care is having a secret mustache that I refuse to share.
Jen Gann: Anyone else hiding anything from their Zooms?
Kerensa Cadenas, culture editor: I Zoomed with a dude I’d been seeing before all of this last night and it was kinda just like fuck it for both of us. Like fully without makeup for me.
Callie Beusman: I do love alone time, but I also actually love Zooming! All of my close friends moved all over the world in the past three years and we’ve been awful at all keeping in touch. I wish I had been doing it before the pandemic.
Hannah Gold, writer: I just want to be alone most of the time. I want to write long letters to my friends, and I’ve ordered more pens. The occasional video chat is nice, though.
Rebecca Ramsey, fashion director: I’m desperate for some alone time, tbh.
Melissa Dahl: I love the FaceTimes and Zooms, too; it’s just insane how I am craving alone time while in isolation.
Bridget Read, writer: I don’t like that to end one, you have to have an excuse like, “Watching Blade Runner!” And then you feel pressure to reschedule.
Callie Beusman: Oh, I just leave a video chat whenever I feel like it’s time for me to go. Because it’s so casual I feel like I can just be like, “That’s enough, bye.”
Stella Bugbee, editor-in-chief: On that note.