In the theater, program notes provide further information about the show at hand.


Remember when Dr. Heywood Floyd speaks to his family on a videophone from a moon base in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

Looks like we are there now. Skype and video chat have been available for a while, of course, but now the whole world is using Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing platforms as we stay safe inside.

The flying cars have not arrived, but the future is here — sort of. Here is my wish list for a better virtual world.

1. Smellovision

My family, like many others, had a Zoom Seder this year. When we got to the break for the meal, my brother saw my Mom and me eating the brisket

If only we had smellovision. Brisket at the Orel Zoom Seder. GWEN OREL/STAFF

she made, and he said, “That’s not fair.” He was right. In addition to Smellovision, the “Logan’s Run” ability to actually reach through the screen would be nice (but in a pandemic, probably not safe). On the plus side, a cousin in Missouri was able to join us.

2. Video walls

Let’s face it, music lessons on a laptop leave a lot to be desired. As Stu Damm said when talking about giving lessons through School of Rock, it’s hard to see hands and the whole body. People have begun building houses with home offices and more electricity to support them; we now know we need to have a wall set aside for video. That way, a teacher could see the kids in the tiny squares without their being so tiny.

This is true for any kind of class, for kids or grown-ups. And hey! Could be good for checkups and all kinds of things. Video walls for all!

3. No lag

Music teachers are frustrated by the lag that keeps them from playing with students. So are we all. Before we can have video choirs and orchestras and plays, we need to kill the lag. Necessity is the mother of invention, so whether this is the internet or the platform, get to work, computer folks, to make us truly synchronized! 





4. Supermarket video

Many of us are sending other people out to shop, whether through Instacart or gig workers. What would be nice? If stores had cameras at the shops so we could pick out in advance: “Oh, that fish looks nice. Those apples look fresh.” Of course, our workers could walk around with a phone, but the stores could help out before we make our list.

5. More time from Libby, publishers

Thank you, library for the eBooks! But two weeks is not enough time. Here’s hoping libraries are able to acquire more titles, and make books available for more time to read.

6. Holodeck

Pretty, pretty please? That holodeck on the later “Star Treks” and whatever they call it on “The Orville” makes a dream real. I’ll take it, even if I know it’s not true. (And I’m not keen on the whole VR goggles thing. I’ve read “Ready Player One,” and no thanks.)

Because, let’s face it, some things will never be the same as Being There: 

  • Fireworks look pretty on TV, but nothing beats lying on the grass, smelling them, hearing the rustle of people around you.
  • The crackle of a campfire, a marshmallow on a stick. 
  • Sand between your toes.
  • The wave hitting you. 
  • Floating in a pool, and it starts to rain!  
  • Playing in a music session, in a crowded Irish bar, with a Guinness at your feet.
  • Listening to the orchestra tune up, a few rows ahead of you, as people murmur to one another before the curtain goes up.
  • Angels, witches, princesses and one lawyer with a sign that said “Treat me or I’ll sue” rushing up your walk on Halloween. (The little lawyer said, looking worried, “Not really.”)
  • Having a glass of wine with a friend at an outdoor cafe.

Like everyone else, I expect to be shaggy and pudgy at the end of this, but if Mom and I are alive, that’s okay.

Meanwhile, a girl can dream. What are you dreaming about?