We have been indoors for roughly two months. We have had a lot of time to focus on ourselves! We learned to bake, we played a game involving animals and interior design, and then we transcended our physical bodies and became beings of pure internet. We live in the cloud now. We hang out with the T. rex from Google's no-internet screen.
The transition has been mostly painless. We are saving money on things like laundry detergent and running shoes. However, there were some stumbling blocks on our path to digital consciousness.
The first problem with being computers is that without hands, we can't open books of our student publications. That was almost a dealbreaker. Our entire reason for being a non-profit organization is to help San Francisco students with their writing: to increase their ability, improve their confidence, and amplify their voices. To be unable to read the results of that work, just because we happen not to conform to the mainstream idea of physical existence? Untenable! The very idea!
Fortunately, ebooks are a thing, so one of us who had not yet fully shed their corporeal form started uploading PDFs of our student publications, and now we can read them in whatever node of the global network we happen to be occupying.
All ebooks of our students' writing are free for the duration of San Francisco's shelter-in-place order. We hope they bring you some of the joy they bring us.
The second problem was that we have a lot of video conferences. We got some feedback saying that our physical human attendees were fully wigged out by the incomprehensible dimensions of cyberspace, and would we please either manifest in a physical location or turn our cameras off. Well, we did neither, but thanks to two new collections of virtual backgrounds, they don't have to know that.
The first is a collection of high-quality photos of our spaces and storefronts. With this collection, we could be perusing shelves at the Pirate Store! We could be comparing time zones at King Carl's Emporium! We could be dappled with sunlight at the Woodland Creatures Outfitter! Lovely to look at and reassuring to people accustomed to places, this collection allows us to feel like we are at 826 Valencia, even when we are not.
The second is a group of patterns inspired by the pirate store and designed by our stalwart design partner Subject-Object. These are fun and jazzy and potentially less distracting to meeting attendees than photos of our physical spaces.
"Wow," we tell our fellow meeting attendees, "it sure is nice standing in front of this shelf, here in the physical world."
"It looks nice," our fellow attendees say, "and, Paolo, thank you for using that attractive patterned background, instead of exposing us to the scintillating digital expanses of virtuality."
"No problem," transmits Paolo.
There are some other things we miss.
The taste of peaches; sunlight on our skin; hugging a loved one. But, we are all computers now, so we might as well make the best of it.