It begins the moment they wake up in the morning. A smile spreads across their faces; a gleam of sinister anticipation enters their eyes. “It’s almost 8:30 a.m.,” your mom and dad whisper to each other. “Time for (your name)‘s first class.” This is when the terror begins.
Your mom approaches your room, dressed only in her flowery silk robe, her wet hair pulled up in a towel wrap. She is tightly clutching a class of orange juice, a maniacal smile on her face. She opens the door with a slow cre-e-e-e-ak. You’re on Zoom, peacefully listening to your English professor lecture on the Oxford comma. The professor asks a question: “Who here agrees with the use of the Oxford comma?” You unmute yourself to answer—and NOW!—she lunges. Suddenly, your mother is standing behind you, leaning forward, face only inches from your screen.
“Why, hello class, hee-hee,” she says. “I was just bringing (your name) their orange juice! I do this every morning! (Your name) can’t function without their orange juice. They get grumpy grumps! Trust me, you do not want to be around that!”
“Mom,” you beg, “please!”
But she’s too far in—nothing can stop her now.
“You all look so sweet!” she says, addressing the stunned students. “What are your precious names?”
You watch, mortified, as a few of your classmates tentatively unmute and say their names.
“Aw, Alex?” your mom says. “I almost named (your name) Alex. But I’m glad I didn’t. You don’t look like an Alex do you, do you?” Your mom pinches your cheek.
It seems like she’s getting ready to leave, but suddenly, you hear a sound that makes your heart skip a beat. It can’t be, you tell yourself. Surely not—but it is. Your dad’s footsteps thunder up the stairs. He bursts in—are you seeing this right? Yes, you are. He’s wearing nothing but a swimsuit.
“OH, ARE YOU IN ZOOM?” he bellows across your tiny room. “SORRY! Just wanted to ask if you’ve seen my blue socks!”
“I haven’t, Dad, sorry!” you whisper furiously, gesturing that both your mom and your dad should leave the room. You are the absolute center of attention. All eyes are locked onto the little rectangle that is you.
Behind you, your mom and dad embrace each other and sway back and forth, clearly very excited to find an audience for their sixty-year long marriage.
You are still unmuted. The professor reminds you that you haven’t answered their question yet. You apologize and advocate for the Oxford comma. After every sentence you say, your half-dressed parents chime in, “Good job, honey!” And, “Great answer!” In the minutes that follow you are muted, but your parents still pepper you with questions about the class and your mother examines her makeup in the camera.
Eventually, your parents leave the room to gather energy for your next class. You sigh in relief, mistakenly thinking the embarrassment is over. Your parents' Zoom-bombing is almost as awkward as a Zoom breakout room with three students who haven’t read the material and give you looks that scream “nerd!” when you attempt to start a conversation.
Dealing with Zoom-bombing parents is a daily struggle for those of us who are attending school from home. But it’ll be over soon ... right? And regardless, we’ll still love ‘em, flowery bathrobe and all.