All the Subtlety We Cannot See (on a Zoom Call)

Annie Maffeo

The most interesting thing I have learned about myself during the global pandemic is that perhaps I overvalued that silence. I miss people. I miss the human interaction that the office brought every day. I now cherish the tiny facial tick or smile that you could only discern when you saw someone in person—something that is most definitely missing when you are on a video call.Annie Carroll Maffeo

Working Through Motherhood

By Annie Carroll Maffeo

Thousands of people waiting to arrive. My job may never be the same.

Thousands of people waiting to arrive. My job may never be the same.

Annie Carroll Maffeo

BATAVIA Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—1 June 2020—I have spent my life fluctuating between introvert and extrovert.

Depending on my age and time of life, I have identified either as minimally extroverted or minimally introverted.

My work, trade show director, means I can spend days speaking and interacting with hundreds if not thousands of people. But, at the end of an event, I need days to recover, folding myself back into my tiny little bubble of family, energy sapped by the non-stop socialization. Some of my favorite days at my job are when the show is at its end and I am making sure all of the freight and exhibitors get out of the convention center. I get to walk the halls alone and say hello to the ten lone stragglers who are still in building with me.

At that point, silence is golden.

The most interesting thing I have learned about myself during the global pandemic is that perhaps I overvalued that silence: I miss people.

I miss the human interaction that the office brought every day.

I now cherish the tiny facial tick or smile that you could only discern when you saw someone in person—something that is most definitely missing when you are on a video call. The lilt of someone’s voice that a computer microphone cannot pick up on . . . .

I mourn for the days of a hug.

My husband and son may not miss it, but I absolutely miss interacting with strangers at the store and asking them random questions while we stand in line.

Please do not be mistaken. I have spent eight weeks with a three-year-old (no silence) and my husband, both of whom are great company. But, unbeknownst to me, I need additional human interaction. I love the funny unexpected stories of life that evolve through simple conversation. 

There is a reason the birthday car parades bring me to tears. They are the shadowy remnants of that human interaction I yearn for so much.

I cannot wait until we can freely and awkwardly interact again. Some of the most beautiful moments of humanity happen by chance when we get to be together. The laughter that boils over into uncontrollable with a friend. The tears that are only shed when you see someone you care about achieve a goal. That hug that only a Gramma can give.

That oh so important “Gramma Hug.”

That oh so important “Gramma Hug.”

I long for those days and cannot wait until we can have them back. Appreciate them for what they are. Simple, human reactions and interactions. I know they may not be exactly the same, and that is fine.

For now, I will choose to stay as safe and healthy as I can. I will count my lucky stars that I am not in a high-risk category and that I enjoy the company of my quarantine companions. Once the world begins to reopen, I will smile a bit more broadly at those I see, and revel in the noise of people as they wander the halls of a convention center more than I ever have before. For mine is a heart that needs people.

Annie Maffeo

About Annie Maffeo

Annie Carroll Maffeo is many things while she is blow drying her hair in the morning and creating made-up scenarios but, once her hair is dry, she is a mother to a not-yet-two-year-old son and a wife to her husband Mike. Her university major, Political Science, enabled her to pursue her passion for politics (at heated family dinner discussions) but, as she chose to forgo law school, she eventually found her calling in the unusual world of trade shows. Now a director at a trade show association management company, Maffeo travels around the country for work and can tell anyone what city is the best fit for a specific event. After her son was born, Maffeo realized that she was suffering from a pretty overwhelming case of post-partum anxiety and started a blog blog as part of her therapy and to help bring awareness to the many issues women face while trying to balance this thing we call motherhood. (Author Photo: self-portrait; Banner Image: Mike Maffeo)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>