I organize my emails in the most responsible way. If I don’t have the time or energy to deal with something at the moment, but I feel like I can’t delete it, I mark it unread. That means nearly anything of importance sits at the top of my inbox, waiting for me to respond. Because sometimes even email feels like a bit too much communication. That’s the beauty of technology—you can always get to it later. But later becomes even later and that becomes never. The ones in the never category grow until the number gives me anxiety and I feel forced to deal with them. And then those get resolved. I recognize it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the one I’ve got.
I can’t be the only one in this world who chooses to avoid virtual interactions in this way, but I know I’m the only one in my house. Dave likes to keep no more than five emails in his inbox. He is obsessively organized about it all and swears by a well-developed folder system. He’s always telling me about how I should try it, how the system helps keep everything coordinated. I, obviously, scoff at him and declare it’s a waste of a time. I laugh in the face of his order. I tease him about his careful organization. I tell him I know what I’ve got and it’s not a big deal.
I was wrong. Last week, the computer-wizards (the tiny creatures who live inside my macbook) decided I had too many unread messages. They read them all. Without me. Those emails are now mixed up with all the actually-read nonsense and will never be found again. I’m embarrassed to say how many I had at the exact moment they disintegrated. I’ll just give you a hint: it was more than 222 and less than 224. Gone. Not really gone, but pretty much gone. Who has the time and energy to try and find them? Not someone who didn’t have the time or energy to respond like a normal human in the first place.
I guess if someone really needs me, they’ll try again. If not, it can’t have been that important. I might try this method with real-life interactions—just stand silently when someone talks to me and see if they walk away or keep talking. It will either force really efficient conversations or someone will try to squeeze me into a straightjacket.