Tolerance for distractions: the three people in this short video all appear to be unfazed by the appearance of Mr. Ponton – the lawyer who has joined the meeting as a cat. Judge Bauer points out the obvious that Ponton has a filter turned on. Ponton doesn’t know how to remove the filter, saying that his assistant is working on it. It could be that like many others, working from home means sharing the computer and the internet. Perhaps someone else in the household was chatting with friends or family and left the settings with the cat filter turned on. In this work and learn from home environment we face daily distractions outside our control: a dog barking in the background, a cat walking across the desk during Zoom meetings, etc. We are learning to tolerate these distractions, shrugging them off as the new normal.
Humor is essential if we’re going to get through this. Both the judge and Mr. Philips are able, for the most part, to maintain a straight-face throughout the interchange as though this is a perfectly understandable occurrence (although Philips does appear to break a grin when Rod states that he is not actually a cat). However, with nearly 1.3 million shares, it seems a lot of other people find the situation and interchange between meeting participants to be hilarious – myself included. While Judge Bauer never breaks composure it seems, at least to me, that he is working hard at this and appreciates the ridiculousness of the moment. How at odds the situation must be from the decorum normally expected in his courtroom.
Perseverance is critical. Despite the challenges he is facing, Ponton says “I’m prepared to go forward with it”. This is actually when I started to lose it! Assuming the scheduled court proceeding was of a serious nature (is this not usually the case?) I couldn’t imagine how things could continue with Ponton participating as a cat regardless of whether he was willing to work through the challenges. But doesn’t this seems to be the way we do everything these days – we just keep on keeping on. One thing that can be said about this past year is to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.
We’re all in this together. Rather than postponing the proceedings for another time the judge begins to offer his assistance in troubleshooting the issue – “I think if you click the up arrow next to the”. Since instruction began pivoting from the classroom to off campus, nearly a year ago, I have witnessed, time and again, faculty, staff, and students offer to help one another in figuring out how to make things work in the face of new and unexpected challenges. Had it not been for their support and willingness to work together I don’t see how we could have gotten this far and this is how we will make it through.