Posted by: hannah jo | November 13, 2008

Let the war against e-mail begin

I hate e-mail. Sorry. I just do. It hates me, too, so it goes both ways.

I always have way too many messages, both at home and at work, so my very mature approach is to not check it. Then, when I do, it’s totally out of control and too late for me to respond to some stuff. So, I hate it even more even though it’s my fault.

Now, we have a new computer at home, which is a huge improvement over our old, slow computer and part of the process of switching to the new computer is switching our e-mail accounts. Somehow, during this process, the gates of Hell opened and my e-mail inbox now includes many hundreds of messages that I had previously deleted and I have no idea how to deal with it. And, the Web-based version of the program that I sometimes access from work, when I need to check an e-mail message from Lily’s school or something, is completely goofed up.

I know I just need to play with various settings and rules and crap, but I have so little interest, time, or energy for this process. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate e-mail anymore than I already do, what do you know? I hate it even more than the Marcia Brady autobiography I just read, which classifies as the worst book I have ever read. I would rather read that book every day, over and over, for the rest of my life, than sort out all of my e-mail problems.

And, to top it all off, we’re switching e-mail programs at work in exactly one month. We keep getting reminded to reduce the size of our mail boxes by deleting old messages, but I have several hundred messages that still need attention. I get hundreds of messages each day. Each. Day. It’s a nightmare.

I know I’m pathetic. I know I’m being a turd for being so hateful right now. I know that normal people enjoy e-mail, love keeping in touch with friends and relatives with it, and prefer it over phone calls. I am not one of those people. I am a slow and not terribly gifted writer. Most of my friends can quickly dash off witty, friendly messages. No big deal. I can’t. Writing has always been a struggle for me because of the giant editor who lives in my head, hissing at me.

Whenever I fantasize about the next phase of my life, post-career, when Lily no longer lives with us, the first thing I always think about is, “hooray, no computer, no e-mail!” That’s my fantasy. A little cabin, on an island, with a lot of paperback books, and no computer or TV. A radio would be nice, but not critical. Andy could make stuff out of wood, and I could drink coffee and read paperbacks and eat cinnamon toast all day.

For now, though, I need to deal with my piles of e-mail, at home and at work. I need to toughen up and Just Do It. I imagine there’s probably some middle ground where I’m not at war with e-mail and not exactly in love with it. I am going to work towards that middle place–a peaceful place–but I warn you that I am going to swear like crazy until I reach that place. Let the war against e-mail begin.



  1. Well, cross that book off my list.

  2. Hannah, thanks for the plug for my autobiography! I really appreciate it! –Marcia Brady

  3. Let me tell you, gmail changed my life. I am completely 100 percent serious. I’m still a mess with work email … but I’m just so pleased with the way my filters and searching archives function work for my Real Life.
    I love gmail more than I hate the Marcia Brady book.

  4. I have this exact same problem, except that it also extends to my cell phone. Which is bad.

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