i think you misinterpreted the tone of my email by some ecardsYep, that’s right. I said it.

Fuck email.

This communication tool seemed so wonderful when it first appeared in my world. I could communicate with people far away almost instantaneously. Although not as personal as a phone call, it had the great advantage of being free when long-distance phone charges were expensive. It seemed like magic.

Then I started using it to communicate with people locally as a means to reach others when I couldn’t speak to them by phone or I just didn’t want to speak on the phone because I was at work. In fact, it was a great way to goof off at work. I’d be at my desk typing away so I seemed appropriately occupied but in fact was hella slacking.

Then coworkers started emailing me when I was in the room with them. At first, this made me very angry. Why don’t they just talk to me? I wouldn’t write them back. I would walk over to them and answer them verbally. Sometimes they would be so close to me that I would just turn around and answer them. I thought they were being ridiculous. But then, somehow, I started doing it too. I would think, oh, I don’t want to interrupt them with this trivial thing. I’ll just send them a virtual post-it note.

The next phase, which is the current one, took this idea to the level of ridiculousness. Instead of calling up local friends to make plans, I would send an email. The idea was also that I didn’t want to bother them plus I could do it at work or home or anywhere, really. But that’s when things started to bog down.

I would send an email asking someone to get together, and suggest a time frame such as “next week”. After a time lag of a few hours to a few days, they were say that a certain day was good for them. I would respond something like Thursday didn’t work for me, how about Monday? After another time lag, they would say, no, Monday doesn’t work, how about the following week? This would go on ad infinitum until I was ready to bang my head on the wall.

This process has been going on in my life for several years and I really can’t do it any more. It would take five minutes on the phone to do a process that can literally take weeks via email. In addition to the frustrating tedium of trying to make plans, there’s the fact that I started feeling completely disconnected from everyone. Talking on the phone is a form of socializing; emailing, and texting as well, is not. It’s just communicating. Why did it become weird or disruptive to phone someone? If they’re busy they just won’t answer.

Me, I’ve decided to embrace interruptions. A concurrent and equally bad evolution is that during the last couple of years I’ve begun very activity and goal oriented in my personal life. I’m working on this or that project, I want to get this or that thing done, or I’m in the middle of a conversation with K, and who the hell is calling me? I wouldn’t answer the phone. It seemed invasive.

Well, no more of that. What am I doing that is so important that I don’t want to be interrupted for a conversation? How long is that conversation going to last anyway — 10 minutes? It’s nigh on insanity.

I’ll admit, for some people — let’s call them “relatives” — I prefer the safety of email to getting sucked into an exchange on the phone that leaves me feeling kind of fucked up. And for that, I will continue to embrace email. For the rest of you, if you know me personally, expect a phone call next time you email me for plans. And when the phone rings, answer it. Answer it!


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