We have already agreed that, in this day and age, phone calls are unacceptable and leaving voicemail is as barbarous as it is pointless. But, contrary to opinion expressed elsewhere in this space, email is just as bad! You¹ need to stop emailing me immediately.
Actually, when I say “just as bad” I really mean “much worse.” You know you sent me an email. I know you sent me an email. Everybody knows that people pretty much just spend their days obsessively refreshing their inboxes now. There’s no way I didn’t see your email. Even if I didn’t open it, in hopes that it would eventually migrate to the next page and I could once again go about my life unburdened by the guilt of not having read or responded, I always know it’s there, lurking below the floorboards, pointing at me with its long, bony finger and making terrible judgments about my level of courtesy. Plus I still see it in the “unread” count. I can’t delete it altogether, either, because then it will just haunt me. What if it was something important? What kind of person am I who would delete your valuable missive unread? And then your follow-up emails? I am embarrassed to look at my computer screen. It shakes its head at me and mocks my manners when it is out drinking with the other computer screens after work. “He should be ashamed,” it hisses with unconcealed disdain.
There are no good excuses for avoiding emails, either. When someone says, “Oh, I never answer my phone,” you nod admiringly at that person’s forward-thinking, tech-savvy ways. “This person is so modern that they have completely dispensed with a technology that still ties much of humanity together,” you think. But “I never read my email”? An obvious lie. “Overzealous spam filter”? Even more insulting. Telling someone that their note must have gone to spam is essentially telling them that you do not respect them enough to come up with even a barely plausible excuse, like your hard drive got totally fried or you suddenly developed temporary night blindness that also afflicts you during the day. It’s just bad form.
But still, they come. Each day brings an ever-increasing pile, adding to the guilt and desperation. The crushing sense of pervasive dread I feel each time I refresh my inbox (which, as discussed, I pretty much do all the time) is the stuff of Russian fiction. Your emails are a sack of adorable babies floating down the river, crying out for salvation. I cannot save all the babies! How can I save all the babies? WHY ARE YOU PUTTING THIS MUCH PRESSURE ON ME?
I’ll tell you what: the next time you desperately need to contact me, stand about a hundred feet away and yell it really loudly. Or, even better, try sending me a message with your mind. I will almost certainly receive that, unless my telepathy is on the fritz that day, which has been happening more and more frequently. Maybe, as a last resort, try calling me? I mean, yeah, I never answer my phone, but who knows, I might be just about to order a pizza or something. Stranger things have happened. Plus, I order a lot of pizzas. So your odds are pretty good there. Anyway, thanks.
¹Not you, obviously. Everyone else.