Black Friday—or Buy Nothing Day, depending on your proclivities and beliefs—descended on our house this year with my eight-year-old son yelling with some friends on Discord while playing Minecraft (or possibly Among Us, or maybe it was Roblox, or perhaps they were alternating among the three?) and my mother, who moved in with us a few years back, on an animated Zoom call with her knitting group.

I tried to take a nap, but it was too loud to sleep. I tried playing my music through my headphones, but that made it even louder. This scenario has been the soundtrack of my 1,600-square-foot house for nine months now, especially since I lost my job in June. My mother has Zooms for her avocation (a deacon in the Episcopal church), for the many boards she is on and for her hobby (knitting). My son has school Zooms and spends as much of the rest of the time as possible talking to his…

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