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Birthday party over zoom

"If you turn 50 and no one is around to celebrate it, did it even happen? We had big plans this year, we did. Videos were being recorded for the montage. Pizza (not again) or catering? How much chocolate in the cake? (answer: YES). Invites to past lab members sent over Whatsapp groups. The PA booked his calendar, in case he forgets (as usual). Most importantly, the bottle of fine whiskey we'd tasked S to get from DFS was hiding in the pantry cupboard. And then they announced the Circuit Breaker. Even if it was successful, and Phase 1 started on 5 May (spoiler alert: it didn't), we knew a live party still wouldn't fly. But hey, there was still food deliveries. And Zoom. So we ordered a nice meal and a small slice of cake that was more chocolate than cake, and had those sent to the office. No need for recorded messages. Everyone changed their names to some variant of the day's theme, put up whatever background they could, cracked open our individual cans of beer, and when the boss logged in, yelled 'Happy Birthday, P!' Who said the party had to stop just for a pandemic? "Cut the cake!" someone called out. Oops- he'd missed the PA's memo about saving the cake for later, and scoffed it down the moment it arrived. Yep. Some things never change."--Contributed by Anonymous, as part of the "Documenting COVID-19 in Singapore" collection community call.

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All rights reserved. Anonymous, 2020

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