Post 40: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on…birthday parties.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 40. 

The perfect Zoom party

Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia

Personally, I have not experienced a birthday during lockdown. I did attend a short Zoom gathering for a friend of mine, a book club meeting, and a Zoom meeting so I am familiar with the issues that need to be addressed to make my party rock. Some obvious problems are: experiencing technical difficulties. Having questions about what to expect once you are on. Feeling awkward because you do not know what to say beyond “HI.” Not hearing anything because people are talking over each other. Not hearing anything because one person has a finger on their mic and is creating loud scratching sounds for everyone else. Having long awkward moments of silence.

After much thought, I decided to organize my own perfect Zoom birthday. I would send precise instructions to avoid all the issues listed above. Here is a copy of my invitation.

Hello,

You are cordially invited to a virtual party to celebrate my birthday on April 23rd at 5pm GMT on the dot. I will send out an invitation with specific instructions for joining the Zoom video party in order to curtail technical difficulties. It is important to be prompt so we can all enjoy the party together. Latecomers will not be given access, as they interrupt the conversation in progress.

In the meantime, here are simple instructions you need follow to get ready for my party.

  1. This is a Downton Abbey party. Please dress in period-appropriate attire.
  2. Please have your finest china tea set with Assam tea (my favorite) brewed and ready.
  3. We will also have scones and strawberry cream cake. Do not worry, I will send you the recipes. Give yourselves plenty of time to accomplish this before the party.
  4. I will arrange to have a pianist join us at 5:30 GMT, at which time you will all sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Please practice this song so you know the words and the timing; otherwise, just mouth the words.
  5. I will be taking selfies so I can record my stunned expressions.
  6. After that, we will pop the Don Perignon, which you will also have pre-purchased and on hand, along with a champagne flute.
  7. We will raise a glass to me. I will go round the screen and ask you all to say something heartfelt and profound.
  8. We will then dig into my strawberry cream cake. At which time I will mute everyone so I don’t hear you chew.
  9. Then we say our final goodbyes before I disconnect.

I will be taking pictures of everyone on the screen and recording this party. I plan on playing it over and over again, so let’s make it good. This is going to be SO MUCH FUN!


Times are hard but special occasions should not be forgotten

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

Today I will share two very short stories I heard during the Corona pandemic, about how people celebrated their birthdays under lockdown.

At the beginning of the lockdowns, back in March, a Lebanese expat arrived home. Her family couldn’t throw her a welcome home party nor a birthday party. Neighbors and family gathered on their balconies and sang happy birthday to her.

On another occasion, a friend who has family and friends all over the world celebrated his birthday with a Zoom call organized by his daughters; it was a worldwide party over a lunch. Each person prepared lunch, drinks, and decorations, and my friend’s wife brought out the cake when lunch was over to loud singing and cheers.

On the other hand, many people are living alone and with lockdowns and social distancing, they end up celebrating alone. For those, I share this photo with you. May 2021 make up the lost birthday of 2020.


18th birthday celebration

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Happy Birthday, Adam!

I’m so sorry that:

  • You were in lockdown when you turned 18!
  • You weren’t able to go out with your friends. I know you had wanted to go clubbing, now that you’re allowed to, but no clubs are open.
  • You didn’t get carded when you bought beer (for the first time, eh?) at the grocery store. You want to show everyone your ID; I already know how old you are so there’s no thrill in flashing your driver’s license at me.

On the other hand, I am grateful because:

  • You are flexible. You enthusiastically hosted a Zoom party with your family and friends.
  • You counted your blessings instead of complaining about the situation. That makes me proud.
  • You acknowledged how lucky you are and recognized that there are other adults, like you are now, who don’t have as many advantages.
  • You’re taking advantage of all this free time to read and learn and prepare for your future.
  • You can handle adversity, and future pandemics, much better now because of this experience.
  • You’re gracious. You told me the Zoom party, the birthday cake, and the beverages made for the nicest celebration you could have wished for, given the circumstances.
  • You have picked up some smooth ping-pong moves. Rest assured, I may be ancient but I can still kick your ass at this game.

I’m proud of you, Adam. Welcome to adulthood. No, you can’t move out yet.


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