A Day Without Email . . .

by wjw on September 8, 2011


. . . is like a day without being bitten on the hand by a chihuahua.

In other words, a day without something that is vaguely painful and annoying but not in any way harmful or dangerous.

For some technical reason, never quite deciphered, I couldn’t log onto the Internet from my Atlanta hotel, and I went five days without being able to access my email.  When I got home and was able to look at my four hundred-odd messages, there wasn’t a single one that required an answer.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to read a lot of them.  (More than 50% were spam, and I junked them without reading.  But I had to give them at least a cursory glance and evaluate them before tossing them, another bite of the chihuahua.)

I remember, years ago, I had friends who would write me actual letters, and I looked forward to the daily arrival of the postman.  Now that my mail is all bills and ad circulars, the mail is just another tedious and annoying thing I have to experience daily.   Another chomp of the chihuahua.

Even if I get some pleasing email, which does happen from time to time, it’s still buried under the chaff of a couple dozen 419 scams, ads for personal injury lawyers, and messages urging me to look at the latest lolcat video, all of which tends to detract from the joy of reading the thing I actually want to read.

The convenience of instant communication is something none of us can do without, but I don’t think I’m being a grumpy old geezer when I feel a certain nostalgia for a time when, if I was going to be approached by a con man, the approach would have to be in person; and that when someone sent me a cute picture of a cat, that someone would have to care enough to duplicate that picture in some way, put it in an envelope, and mail it— and that when I got a letter, I’d know that someone actually wanted to write down several pages worth of information, news, speculation, or (in my case) oddball literary theory, and send it to me, personally, at my own address, in an envelope with a stamp on it.

I spend my days sticking my hand in the chihuahua’s mouth, waiting for that little, annoying bite— and then doing it again and again.  Modern electronic communication makes it far too easy to create, send, or forward trivia.  If someone actually had to write all this stuff down, I’d be buried in paper fifteen times over.

Delete, delete, delete.

Christina Lihani September 8, 2011 at 4:38 am

I hear you. I don’t get spam but in micro bursts now and then and I don’t get the volume of crap you get either. All the same, I log on each day and wonder why I’m wasting my time. I miss writing and receiving letters. And goofy photos. And, strangely, coupons from my grandma.

Oz September 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

Now my evil side wants to send you chihuahua bites. Or lolchihuahuas. I refrain, I do. No procrastination for moi.


DensityDuck September 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Better that ten thousand spam emails get sent to people than that one legitimate message be unjustly censored or blocked, though, right?

wjw September 11, 2011 at 2:47 am

I’m beginning to think that if someone wants to send me a legitimate message, they can jolly well phone.

mastadge September 13, 2011 at 2:50 am

Phone? That’s the thing that doesn’t ring, but does deliver your important, time-sensitive voicemail three months later, right?

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