Actually this isn’t intended (today anyway) as political or social commentary. It just seemed appropriate given that yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and I threw a surprise party for her.
Given that gatherings of more than two people are not allowed in Germany in these days of pandemic and social distancing, it was a bit of a logistical challenge. Turns out setting up a virtual party online is as much (or maybe more) work than actually having people over.
The party was a lot of fun – even if I still haven’t finished cleaning up all the virtual dishes and classes people left lying around.
Which doesn’t mean I’m not left without some regrets, the same ones I would have if everyone had descended on our house to celebrate in person. In a large group you just can’t get into much in the way of meaningful, private conversation.
I spent a lot of time helping people find the metaphorical bathroom and pouring drinks (that is, helping them with unfamiliar technology) and not much time talking with old friends. Today I have to send a few emails to people I think I saw in the room, but never got a chance to talk with. I did a rough count, and more than 90 people showed up, though not all at the same time.
I don’t think we annoyed the neighbors with the noise – ear buds kept things at an acceptable level.
Planning a virtual party would not have been on my agenda if not for this pandemic. I can see doing it again, and it might be something you might like to try too if you have a special event coming up.
By my count we had people from four continents, with ages ranging from 3 to 83. Well, there was a 96-year-old as well, but I only heard her – she didn’t want to be on camera for everyone to see. There’s no way we could have done something like that if everyone had to show up physically.
It was exhausting and exhilarating and I am so glad I won’t have to do it again for at least another year.
Then again, some people suggested I might want to go into the party-planning business. I guess that shows people had fun.