Not one to let a new
trend pass me by, I’ve recently learned to “Skype.” This cutting edge techno
fad has only been around since 2003—a mere ten years—which is about how long it
takes me to try something new. But since my husband is away on a business trip,
I thought I’d give it look-hear.
First, let me explain
what Skype is, in case you haven’t tried anything new in ten years either. Skype is essentially a “video-phone” that
allows you to see your caller, simply by using your computer. I’ve always
wanted one of these, ever since watching Buck Rogers and Star Trek. As a kid, I
was sure Walt Disney was working on this telecommunications of the future.
After all, I saw prototypes at Disneyland’s House of the Future back in the
Now, five decades later,
Skype, not Disney, finally came up with device that allows callers to not only
hear one another’s voices over long distance, but also see our loved ones dressed only in their underwear, our friends
drunk at a party, or our relatives’ cats. And it’s all free-ish!
All you need is an
internet connection (not free), a computer with a microphone and speakers (not
free), and a “webcam” (not free). Once you have the equipment, then you simply
follow these easy steps:
Download Skype and create yet another account
and forgettable password.
Click on one of your “contacts.” No one on your
contact list? Bummer. You’ll need some “contacts.”
When you finally get a contact, check to see if
he is online.
Click “video-call” and listen to the catchy Skype
tune while waiting for your friend to answer.
When he does, smile (make sure there’s nothing
in your teeth), wave (the Queen’s wave is best since the viewing screen is
limited) and say hello (in fact, say it several times to make sure your friend
can hear you.)
While you chat, play with the options to
increase the esthetics of your call. Adjust your volume, change the light, add
color, include bizarre backgrounds, draw on mustaches, etc.
If you can’t see your friend, click a bunch of keys,
check your settings, call tech support, go to the Apple genius bar, or hang up
and use your regular phone.
That’s it. Now, whenever my husband is on a business
trip, we Skype. Our conversations go something like this:
Me: “Hi!” (Remove
Me: “How was your day?”
(Hide new purchases.)
Him: “Oh fine. Yours?
Me: “Fine.” (Lean out of
view and sneak a sip of wine.)
Him: “What’s new?”
Me: “Not much. What
about you?” (Play solitaire while waiting for answer.)
Him: “Same. Just
watching sports on TV.”
Me: “Ah.” (Turn on TV
and watch anything but sports.)
Him: “Your hair’s sticking
Me: “Thanks.” (Pat it
down.) “Have you put on weight?”
Him: “Ga—be—du—mo—You’re breaking
Me: “Yeah, you too.” (Matt
Damon is on Ellen!)
After a few more words
of garbled jibberish, I shake my head, which means “This sucks” in Skype
language. We hang up.
Pretty amazing stuff. I can’t wait until the next new invention. Maybe
3-D holograms of our loved ones beamed right into our homes, so we can sit and
drink wine and watch the news on TV together, without saying a word. Just like