If you've worked remotely prior to this year, or perhaps with an otherwise distributed team, then you may be familiar with the virtual happy hour. That's when it isn't practical to gather with your coworkers, so you get on yet another Zoom call, beverage at your side, to interact socially with your colleagues. Now it's fairly common for virtually anyone that has a desk job. We had one Friday with my management team. Locations varied, but covered much of the geography, from here in Orlando, to SoCal, to Portland, to a rooftop in Brooklyn.
The company I currently work for would typically have an engineering meetup once a year in person, but that was obviously cancelled and made virtual later in the year. It certainly wasn't the same, but it was definitely less expensive. At the end of the first day we even had an optional social gathering, with a bunch of "rooms" of various interests. I hosted one of the rooms, for "beverage enthusiasts." These kinds of events have been interesting, because I've met people I might not have otherwise, including a woman who literally lived in my current neighborhood and moved to Cleveland after leaving Disney. Small world, indeed.
But of all the things that the pandemic has put on hold, for me it's the travel problem that's most unfortunate. It's reasonably safe to travel on road trips in particular, especially if you can land in a place with minimal indoor interaction. Hopefully with the mounting outbreak that's still possible, but it sure looks like we're headed for a setback. Leaving the country, that's obviously going to be off the table for a long while, to say nothing of cruising.
Still, I'm happy to have the social interaction, virtual or not. It makes you appreciate that you're not the only one enduring a bit of a shitshow this year.