Monday, November 22, 2010

224. Introduction To Email

I remember the day I set up my first email account. I was 28, dating my geographically undesirable (read: long-distance) boyfriend, and virtual flirting. We would write these clever little emails back and forth, the equivalent of passing notes by the lockers in junior high. “I had a great time seeing you last week-end!” “Me, too!” “I can’t wait to see you a week from Thursday!” “Yes it will be great!” “When will you call me!” “Tonight when I get off work!” “That’ll be great!” “Bye—gotta run!”

Oh, the breathless anticipation of the very next email. What insightful and original prose would he write next? “You looked great! Love your great new haircut!”

Flash forward one marriage, two children, and twelve years later. The novelty of email has completely worn off. It’s no longer “great”; it’s greatly annoying. I scan the list of emails received since last night:
  • Amazon
  • LLBean
  • Borders Books
  • The High-End Kitchen Store (how did I get on their email list, I wonder?!)
  • Eddie Bauer
  • BabyDressesBetterThanYou
  • Barnes & Noble
  • AnthropologieWantsYourWholePaycheck
  • Nordstrom
  • Gap
  • ShutterbugMakesYouFeelGuiltyForNotPrintingPhotos
  • Target
There is not one single email from a close friend (well, if you don’t count Target, I mean). I put my finger on the nearly worn-out key: Delete-Delete-Delete. Oh, no, I accidentally deleted an Evite. Yikes. Retrieve it from the virtual trash bin and reinstate it.

When The Husband gets home, I ask him how many emails he gets per day. “Uh, maybe 70? I don’t know, why?”

70? That’s kind of a lot. Now 10 doesn’t seem too bad. “Are all of those work-related emails? Are they all important?” I ask.

“Yes and no. Yes, they are work-related—you know I work at a secured site. And no, they are not all important. A lot of them are time-wasters. Like this guy Brozo. He emails me, like, five times today about the same thing and doesn’t even give me a chance to respond. I was in meetings all day. I’m thinking, really? You can’t wait two hours until I have a chance to get back to you? Honestly, MOV, why can't he just pick up the phone and call me and then I can answer his simple question in about ten seconds.”

“What kind of name is ‘Bozo’?” I interject. “I never heard you talk about him before.”

Brozo,” he corrects, “That’s his last name. His first name is……uh, gosh, I can’t remember. Everyone just calls him Brozo.”

Later I ask my sister Oakley about her email situation. “What do you mean: ‘situation’?” she asks right back.

“Well, how many emails would you say you get per day, and how many are work-related, and how many are spam, and how many of them waste your time or do you consider relevant?” I prod.

“Wow. I never really thought that much about it. Well, you know I work for the Water Company, so I do get a lot of work emails. I have a fantastic Spam-filter (it’s by ‘FilterThis’, you should really get it, MOV, it’s the same one they use at the White House), so spam is not much of an issue. Also, because of my job, I have to return emails right away, so I always have my Blackberry and I just email people back as quickly as I can. Oh, a couple weeks ago, something was wrong with my email account through work so I wasn’t able to access anything. It was bliss. I got a lot accomplished that day.”

“Are you talking about email?” Tall is tapping me on the shoulder, interrupting my call with Oakley. “Can we get on the Lego Club email list? Pleeeeeeeze? I heard they send you coupons!” My son smiles at me, he’s dreaming of new Lego’s to build.

Short comes bouncing into the room. “Email!” he calls out. “G-mail! Z-mail! L-M-N-O-P-mail!” This has become some sort of alphabet game to him.

Just now, my screen blinks with another new email. This one looks important: it’s from my BFF (Target). “Oakley, lemme call you back.” Bye—gotta run!


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