I learned how to do a Microsoft Teams meeting this week. So did a lot of other people. If you have Microsoft 365, it is an easy thing to do. I got a google phone number this week. Changed my message at work so that it will tell people to call my google number and get me at home. It’ll either forward to my cell phone or to voicemail. It also lets me use my computer as a phone.


With the inevitable exception here and there--to small to mention but I will because otherwise you’ll think I am lying--everyone has pulled together like troopers. We’ve switched to problem solving mode. Things which would have labored through the system at a snail’s pace (actually snails talk about how slow universities are) have simply happened: “So let it be written; so let it be done!”


We can do this!


I am a fan of the Expanse Novels written by James S.A. Corey. As various points, these books refer to something called “the churn.” The churn is a generic term for a time of rapid changes. There is a “before” and an “after” and in between there is the churn. During the churn the world is reordered. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.


There will be more online meetings from now on germs or no germs. It is just too danged easy to do.


I consider myself to be tech-savvy, but I’ve discovered that I’d been doing things the hard way for a long time with some of my software. Having discovered these new ways, it is like scales have fallen from my eyes. I want to go out into the world and preach the best practices of software use.


Halleluyah! Do I have an Amen on Sharepoint?


And our children, the much maligned Millennials, they were born to this. My 21-year-old daughter was watching my coworkers and I struggle through the process of learning some of the things that she just knows. She said, “This is painful to watch.”


None of these things is hard to learn. We just put off learning them because we didn’t have to. The system was working the way things were so we put off the five minutes that it took to learn to change our phone messages; to set up a Teams meeting; to do Zoom; to do VidGrid; to get Google Voice; to use Microsoft 365.


Then there simply was not a choice and we did it. There is no going back. Even if you didn’t learn, enough people know how easy it is that you won’t be let off the hook now. You will have to learn to do this or you will be left behind and laughed at.


Not everybody has Microsoft 365. However, if you have Facebook and a webcam, you can have face to face conversations with anyone else who is similarly equipped. I bet your grandchildren are. There are videos on Youtube for how to do this.


This is the churn. This is the year you learn how to use all of the technology that you’ve been ignoring. You are trapped inside with your computer. Figure out what it's all about. We will be doing many things a different way from now on.


Restaurants are going to have to be nimble. Sure, there will come a day when we all start eating out again. In the meantime, a lot of restaurants have switched to serving take-Aout. Some of them by phone; some with online ordering and payment; some will do all of that and deliver on top of it all.


Here’s a hint guys: The easier you make it, the more business you will get. When this is all over, you will still know how to do this, and you will still get business this way. If you don’t you won’t.


It is a time of change. It is the churn.


— Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.