Hosting a virtual event isn’t always as easy as sitting in front of a camera, connecting to Zoom, and performing. There are the obvious pitfalls of technological issues involving internet connections, computers, scoring platforms, etc. But there are any number of things that might pop up to try and sabotage your event.
The following is the worst nightmare culmination of things to happen before and during a virtual event that I have ever experienced.
Let me start by saying that I have recently adopted a kitten that was, on the day of this event, 11 weeks old. If you’ve never experienced an 11-week old kitten before, they have two modes, sleep and insane. They also like to sleep and be insane wherever you happen to be and they will meow loudly at you if you’re not with them. So during an event there's no locking them in the other room unless you want your guests to think you’ve been kidnapping children in your off time.
So just before this particular event started Jonesy, my kitten, goes into this ultra-insane mode where he runs as fast as possible around the apartment. He manages to not only unplug my internet but yank my router off of the shelf and drag it halfway across the room. That’s fine. The event hasn’t started yet. I get everything going again. No problem.
I log in to the Zoom call and strike up a conversation with the event organizer of the client company. Then there’s a knock on the door. I ignore it because there is no one I am expecting and I’m not in the mood to speak with anyone just before an event at 6:30 in the evening. The knock comes again and again, louder and louder. So I excuse myself and open the door. It’s these Polish chimney sweep people. They come in, take a look at my apartment for about 30 seconds then hand me a slip of paper before leaving.
When I get back to my laptop I see that Jonesy has been walking on my keyboard and sending messages in the general chat to everyone that has arrived so far. Things like “[plc00ica]\pa” and “a3cj30a09jva”, etc. I apologize. They laugh and understand. The event continues.
I know cats and I know this cat. So I prepare myself by stashing various toys around my workstation to throw and distract him when he wanders too close to my laptop when I’m hosting. Still, sometimes I’m distracted and there will be a sneak attack. I will all of a sudden have needle-sharp little claws jammed into my legs as he attempts to climb up to my lap, causing me to cry out in pain, confusing the poor participants of the event. This was one of those times.
A little later I heard a noise from near my balcony door accompanied by a flash of light, but, as I had enough interruptions of this event already, I ignored it. After about 10 minutes there was an insistent knock at the door again. Over and over they knocked. It became obvious that the players could hear it and it was distracting from the event, so I excused myself and answered the door. It was one of my neighbors who was flying their drone with their daughter and it landed on my balcony. She wouldn’t stop crying so my neighbor wouldn’t stop knocking!
I returned the drone and went back to the event only to find that Jonesy managed to close my laptop while I was away. Luckily, this event was not on our company Zoom account so I was the only one booted from the call. I rejoined, apologized, and received reluctant chuckles from the players who, at this point, are obviously getting tired of all the interruptions.
Luckily, Jonesy, and the rest of the world, were satisfied with that amount of sabotage. Jonesy switched over to sleep mode and the event went on without any sort of grease fire or other catastrophic event apocalypse.
The players seemed to have a good time after all, I said my goodbyes, closed my laptop, then had serious thoughts about what kittens might taste like.
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