A couple of weeks ago we went to a funeral service in our pyjamas. Thanks to the power of the internet, at 2:30 in the morning (UK) we sat in our dark bedroom, and tuned in to a webcast of an early afternoon funeral service (Australia).
I normally associate webinars and webcasts with work-related learning. “27 reasons why you should horizontally integrate your on-boarding data with your digital marketing ROI leverage opportunities”.
In contrast, this webcast was a fond remembrance of a loved uncle. We listened to the gently amusing, achingly sad and warm-hearted tributes to the unfamiliar other facets of this man – father, brother, friend. All from the comfort of our suburban bedroom, cradling mugs of tea, with a light scattering of pretzels over the duvet.
There were some technical issues. At first, although we could hear the service, the video was mostly an old-fashioned test pattern of bold coloured stripes. The experience of listening to the voices pausing and wobbling with emotion, in the silent dark made the eulogies even more moving.
Later on, as the service began drawing to a close, we lost the audio, but gained video. We saw the people rising and falling and shifting and singing.
I don’t work for you
As interesting as this was, we thought that we would enquire about the simultaneous transmission of audio AND video. We called the funeral home and then it got a bit weird.
INT. BEDROOM. NIGHT.
The funeral home reception person has put us through to the ‘technical people’. A very efficient man listens as we describe the issues – what we previously could or couldn’t see or hear. He performs some technical jiggling at his end, asks us some brisk questions, and we duly report back on what we can or cannot see or hear.
IT MAN: (businesslike) Right. OK. Seems to be some kind of issue with the cabling at (‘name of funeral home location’). I need you to get on to that straight away before the afternoon service.
US: (Baffled silence)
HUSBAND: (quietly) We don’t work for you…
(Pretzel packet rustles slightly. Mugs of tea are silent. )
ME: (confused) We’re calling from London, trying to watch a webcast of a service …
IT MAN: (mortified) I am SO SORRY. I thought you were calling from the venue. I didn’t realise … etc etc
US: (Speechless with laughter.)
FADE TO BLACK.
I’m not sure if the tears in my eyes were from the strangeness of this last conversation, or the moving stories of a great man.
[– In memory of PJ –]
Here’s one I wrote earlier
Love is not dead, it’s just resting. How often do you tell your loved ones that they are loved? On a sliding scale, I think the most romantic medium are (with 1 being most lovely) …