Try to look at the person you're talking to.
That means, if at all possible, don't spend the entire conversation gazing into your own tiny eyes in the little rectangle in the corner of your screen. It's difficult; no one's saying it isn't difficult. It's like talking to someone with reflective sunglasses, but constantly. Video chat is making us all realise we're a little bit obsessed with ourselves.
It's the existential crisis that 'rona has thrown us all into; now we're at home with nothing to do other than really think about what we've done: "Is this who I am?" we think, standing in the middle of our living rooms. "Is this the stuff of a life well lived?" we ask, surveying the kitchen counter tops. "Would the world miss me if I just stayed inside like this, forever?"
We look at the little image of ourselves onscreen, dwarfed by that of the person we're talking to, the length and breadth of the monitor, and yet so easy to ignore. "Is that who I am? Is that what people see when they see me?"
Perhaps you've worked out how to remove your image; perhaps you've tried to put yourself off by using a potato filter; but still, isn't there something quite compelling about yourself as a talking potato?
"Is that what someone who's listening looks like?" you wonder as you ogle yourself, your companion's words merely background noise. You adjust your eyebrows to look more empathetic: perfect. This is the kind of real-time feedback we'll really miss.
Perhaps you performatively favour an unflattering from-below 'who cares?' angle, to show how cool and different you are. Stop trying to make the rest of us look silly: develop YouTuber tics, affectations like biting your lip or prettily resting your head on your hand. Get a new smile for FaceTime; your real smile makes your eyes look small and your chins look plentiful. You are your own best friend. Just look at you there, in the corner of the screen - fascinating.
So Over: 'Opportunity...'
By which we mean the notion that there is an upside to this crisis; a chance to 'work' on ourselves in all sorts of creative ways. So thanks for the home-made face-mask recipes; the home workouts (from Roz Purcell, pictured, et al); the enhanced learning suggestions for the kids, etc - and yes, we know what the Chinese word for 'crisis' is - but honestly, we aren't quite there yet.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine
It's a cold January day; grey and dull, but for the lilac vision that is weaving her way towards me, dazzling the otherwise dark corner I am occupying. I had met 24-year-old fashion designer and Limerick native Aoife McNamara once before and was struck then by her self-confidence. She blends into her surroundings like Liberace at a royal wedding - which is to say not at all, but also perfectly. Today she is wearing one of her own Aoife Ireland bold signature creations: big-shouldered lilac jacket and matching high-waisted trousers reminiscent of an '80s Dynasty character, but with added flair and sophisticated structure.