DES MOINES—An Iowa business owner spent an entire Zoom call staring at his own digital image, and he’s pleased about it.
Tate Walstrom, proprietor of Tate’s Gates in Altoona, could not tear his eyes away from the mirrored video stream of his face while attending a half-hour virtual meeting for property managers. Offering limited input to the ten-person discussion, Walstrom expressed relief and even pride after realizing that the other attendees couldn’t tell what he was doing.
“I thought maybe they saw me just watching myself, staring at the mesmerizing diamonds cradled in these luxuriant eye sockets,” said Walstrom. “Once it was clear that, for some reason, no one was noticing these babies, I just kept staring, but now I was unencumbered by worry, which itself added to the overall splendor of the experience.”
Walstrom is no stranger to unchecked vanity, having spent dozens of Zoom calls gazing at a handheld mirror below his laptop camera. Upon moving the mirror and seeing that the video conferencing app provides a digital feed that mimics the effect of a mirror on his laptop screen, the 40-year-old entrepreneur discarded the handheld reflector and scheduled fourteen Zoom meetings that afternoon.
“‘What have I been doing all this time?’ I thought. ‘I could be soaking this all in on other people’s time and with a more sophisticated device,’” Walstrom recalled. “I’ve decided that I’m still going to use mirrors, however, but my use of them will be scaled back with this new development.”
Other tools that Walstrom has employed to monitor the environment surrounding his head — smart phones, stainless steel surfaces, still water in dark-colored trays — will now take a backseat to Zoom. According to Walstrom, the older devices have become obsolete as they are unable to keep up in the fast-paced world of checking oneself out.
“I need technology to adapt to me,” he affirmed. “When I’m seeing how great it is that they’re not even able to see me seeing how great I am, I need a device that will support me in that moment. Did mirror support me? Was shiny ladle there for me? No. From now on, it’s computer for me.”