Using tech tools and your own support groups

This is my third blog on ‘life in lockdown’, read my previous blog here.

When my family realised that I was totally preoccupied with reading my emails, Gmail, Messenger notifications, all of which were  repeating the same news, a hundred times a day, my sons and wife “summoned” me to change my actions.

This is precisely what I did.

It is well-known that in difficult times, we should use and even abuse humour, in all its meanings (“acceptions” is the FR term): it took me 20 minutes to pivot from a frightening obsession to a much lighter atmosphere.

While I was cooking my breakfast (today, April 12, 2020) – by “cooking” I should say  heating my newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ – as evidenced in the photo

I established several crisis committees, all built with groups of friends from various origins and countries using tools such as WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Qzone, Sina Weibo, and Vkontakte.

1. The first group consisted of my Kiwanis Club members – who have a nice sense of humour, and concentrating on comic books for children, such as ‘Tintin and the Virus’.

2. The second group was set up with former Parisian neighbours  – they wisely moved to Arcachon, Le Ferret or Bordeaux at the beginning of the confinement. With them I’m using my mobile, since we cannot meet in-person anymore until (probably) Christmas time.

 

3. My third e-meeting group was built with close and not-so-close friends from College Lycée Hoche de Versailles, some of whom I haven’t seen for 45 years (salut Gérard “J”). They’re familiar with caustic humour, for example this meme for which I’m asking you to accept my apologies: 

4. A further group was built with close and distant family members, just to keep in touch… and also to exchange our notary public contacts, just in case, as well as a deadpan joke which I cannot reproduce here (or only by personal email, and with a symbolic compensation “fee” – as my own notary would likely request ).

5. A special e-group was set up with several selected hand-picked FICPI colleagues, of course the first one being as you may know our (and yours as well) former FICPI president Danny Huntington with whom we exchange lots of first class jokes and sometimes offbeat humour pictures.  [insert cartoon with emu for point 5 from Word doc in FICPI editor/blogs/04-20 Marc Chauchard] 

6. Several WhatsApp groups were set up with several not-to-be-disclosed internet dark-humour sources [“balance-ton-mec”/”ton-porc”/”ton-homme-politique”/”ton-voisin”/etc…], which I shall only share with trusted friends like my blog’s thousands of followers (if I had one, of course!); for these “dry humour” internet sites, I have to upload a new anti spam and cookie policy with my computer assistant as captured in this meme:

Needless to say, I’m maintaining daily messaging relationships with all the already-established WhatsApp groups I was part of, including the FICPI CET Team, also comprising some former professional colleagues, associates and friends, plus 427 individuals (maybe more…) with whom I exchange messages from time to time, usually about wine tasting…

We started exchanging very useful information: I started by sending messages to ALL my close “friends” on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Messenger (I’m participating in numerous social networks) a short message explaining that during the lockdown, I would ONLY send and receive light-hearted messages, especially on art and museums around masters of art pieces, the most famous one being, as everyone admits, “La Joconde” aka the Mona Lisa, like the many variations on this meme:

Of course, during this pandemic, I stayed in extremely close contact with my FICPI Bureau friends, having several video conferences a week, all keeping to our social distancing and wearing the protective masks as recommended by medical doctors.

Sometimes our exchanges, although being always polite and respectful of everyone’s opinion, were a little bit dark, sorry for the term –  but this blog should be a true transcription of the facts required for historical research conducted in future centuries, if humankind still exists… 

As reported (wisely) by my friend and FICPI vice president Ivan Ahlert, in the village where Asterix lived, the Gauls did not fear anything, except that “the sky would fall on their heads”. In the excellent comic book ‘Asterix and the Chariot Race’ published in French on October 19, 2017 – 30 months ago – the fallen sky of today’s crisis was already disclosed by the heroes coronavirus and his friend bacillus. 

No one can pretend we were not informed!

But what about the future?

I briefly called our extremely well informed President Mr Macron who recommended that I consult his personally renowned fortune-teller (a few hundred bucks were charged on my MasterCard): she (her name is “Brigitte”) was only able to show me some tips on future transport changes (think of the motorway to Bordeaux and Paris fully grassed over by the end of lockdown as per this meme!).

Anyway, I decided to nevertheless maintain a touch of humour and sent all my contacts a small image, which I suggested they read from left to right, preferably starting from the bottom. 

April 12, 2020.

My next blog will address mental activities, sports and how is it difficult to work with Zoom meetings!

Next steps

How FICPI makes IP attorneys more effective

FICPI has developed a suite of  resources and information to help members of our global community to adapt to the new way of working under Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions, which brings opportunities for growth as well as some immediate challenges. This is the third of Marc’s blogs on life under lockdown in France.