Saturday, November 19, 2011

582. Why People Don't Like To Receive Emails at 4 AM

I am not an early riser by nature. I like to stay up until the wee hours and then sleep in until noon. My one defining motto in college was “Morning is a good time to go back to sleep” and my other motto was “Why have breakfast when you can have lunch?” So it should come as somewhat of a surprise that I sometimes go to bed at 8 PM and then wake up automagically at 4 AM.

My kids are great sleepers. The same Universe that said, “You get to deal with two picky eaters, ha! Take that!” also said “Let’s give her children that sleep for 11 hours straight.” Sort of like a trade-off.

The house is quiet like a library. No, quiet like outer space. I can hear the cat breathe. I can get a lot done.

Well, vacuuming? Not so much. Cross that off the list.

Dishes? Uh, no. The kitchen is too close to the bedrooms, so that would be too loud and most likely wake everyone up.

At least I can put some laundry away. Oops, the basement stairs are creaky like old bones. Scratch laundry off the list.

Watch TV? What, on Mute?

That leaves blogging. A few clicking strokes on the keyboard never woke up anybody. I already did a nice tight blog yesterday based on an email I sent to My Idol.  Hmmmmm … I can check email.

My email box blinks up at me in the 4 AM darkness. 17 new emails! None are ads! I obediently check them all, then get ready to respond, methodically, Virgo-like, one-by-one.

Before I hit the first “SEND,” I remember something a customer at the high-end kitchen store told me: “I hate getting advertising emails from the high-end kitchen store because they start flooding in at 5 AM and I sleep with my Blackberry on my nightstand, so it starts buzzing then.” The high-end kitchen store had unwittingly become his alarm clock.

(As an aside: Who sleeps with their Blackberry on their nightstand?! And what’s a Blackberry? Is it like a gardening feature for an iPhone? Does it come with its own bugs, like grasshoppers and ladybugs and caterpillars?)

The image haunts me, someone’s phone ringing or buzzing/ beeping/ hopping because I hit reply at 4 AM confirming a lunch meeting for the following Tuesday.

I suddenly remember my computer has a neat little feature called “Draft” where I can write whatever I want and save it in my Draft Box as long as I like (if I can just remember to come back to it later and actually send it instead of saying, “I know I sent you a response! I remember writing it and making a lame joke about caterpillars, are you sure you didn’t get it?”).

I draft a beautiful email, the first one of 17 to save. I spellcheck it. I go to hit “SAVE” and make a mental post-it note to come back and send it later: MOV, you will remember, make sure you remember, you must come back to this.

Brain, yes the same evil Brain that drags me through Migraineville from time to time, cackles and says, “Oops—SEND.”

So if you received an email from me at 4AM confirming lunch next Tuesday, don’t be mad that you are up so early now. Just think of all the things you can get done.



  1. I wholeheartedly agree that morning is an excellent time to go back to bed. I dream of a job that begins at 11 am; I really do.

    Who at the high-end kitchen store is sending you emails at such an ungodly hour?

  2. Too bad you didn't live nearby...ANY notification for lunch is what I live for at the not high end kitchen store where I spend my day. And we always have wine!

  3. I used to sleep with the Blackberry, I was on call 24/7 in case some stupid part did not fit right on the stupid vehicle.

    Until one year when we launched 2 vehicles. And people started telling my boss every time they called me I cussed up a blue streak. Then I did not have to answer until morning.

    As I woke up between 3:30 and 4:30 to be prepared for work at 5 to 6 AM, when do you think I returned all those calls. Yep, while drinking my first cup of coffee. From the high-end coffee maker of course.

  4. I thought I invented the word 'automagically', but I guess not.

  5. Someone should invent 'delayed sending' on e-mail, just like you can have your dishwasher wait a couple hours before starting. I never use that feature. I have a strict rule that dirty dishes can never set in the dishwasher, fill her up 'n go ...

  6. kay-- I should have specified I meant the advertising emails that the high-end kitchen store sends.

    patty-- loving the wine idea. I always bring it up at the high-end kitchen store ("Are we allowed to have wine at work?") and they always threaten to fire me. this is a weekly occurence.

    nola-- you crack me up. I love it that you returned the calls at that ungodly hour!

    esbboston--I thought my 7-yr-old (then just 3) invented "automagically" ... maybe not? and I absolutely agree on the delayed sending feature! my blog will let me do a delayed post, why not a delayed email?


  7. I firmly believe in sleeping at 4 am. Even if I wake up that early, I just don't feel it's right to be up doing anything productive. My Dad is Mr. Early Morning Chirpy Guy. He gets up at 4:30 or 5 and sings and makes breakfast, la la la.

  8. ooooh, I draw the line at singing.



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