Wednesday 1 June 2022

In the background. Or in the office.

 It's strange to think that three years ago talking about seeing friends on Zoom would have earned you blank stares. Now it's part of life, and looks like it will continue to be so. Meetings, get togethers, classes can all be national and international. I've attended a lot more meetings virtually than I would have been able to in real life and participated in courses that would have been impossible to attend in person.

 Attending the AGM of the Crime Writers' Association last week, in my dressing gown - well it was Saturday morning and for me, being a night owl, quite early at 10 am - I started to look at the backgrounds that everyone had in their zoom shots. (I don't think anyone noticed the dressing gown - with a lot of people present the pictures were quite small.) While a number of people had those backgrounds of gardens or fields or Sydney Harbour or whatever and I had a very nice view of the contents of my china cabinet because my home office is in a corner of the dining room, I notice most people had background views of their office. I've discovered, via a little googling, that you can get backgrounds of very posh looking libraries  and studies - who knew - but that was not what these were. These were the places where people worked, almost invariably with shelves of books in the background. I suppose that was a no-brainer really.

And of course I immediately wanted to be able to read the titles of the books on the shelves. Now that is something that you can't do on Zoom.  Unfortunately. I always think you can tell a lot by the kind of thing people read. And of course, being terribly nosy, I want to know. You probably can't tell much about me from a quick background glimpse of the decorated plates brought back from Spain and Portugal and the Clarice Cliff  style tea service that my grandfather won at the fair - or maybe you can. Books on the other hand... My taste in reading matter is weirdly varied, if you wander around the house. Mostly it's escapist fiction -  I don't do serious stuff, with a scattering of classics, inherited books and left overs from childhood. But then, in complete contrast, there are the research books from the PhD, heavy academic tomes about the war - no escapist stuff there. 

I suppose if I was choosing to display books on my Zoom background those would be the ones I would pick. The ones that make me look intellectual and grown up. Perhaps it's better that you get the china cabinet instead? 

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