Note To Self: STOP Emailing People!


What this really is, I suppose, is a rant on why I hate email. That sounds pretty promising, like I really have something to say, some point to make, but the sad truth is that’s not really what this is. It’s not a rant about why I hate email, it’s more of a confession or monologue about a rather sad state of affairs, which is that I simply can’t handle email.

Oh, I’ve overcome the technical bits, I mean, I’m not an idiot, I know how email works. The problem is that somehow in emails my batshit crazy really comes to the fore. Oh how it shines! I think at it’s core email is something I turn to when I need to communicate with someone I cannot get through to, have a chat with, or call on the phone. See, the phone and personal time with people is the only way to talk about things when I’m feeling emotional about something. Phone calls and face to face conversations are organic, each side knows that the other person may be working through or towards something and it will all come out over the course of the conversation, emails are authoritative. They’re like scripture. You can’t think out loud in an email, not like you can in conversation. The problem is that often the things I really need to talk about are to people I can’t seem to get into a room with. In other words I say things that in the context of a conversation would simply be part of the process, but saying those same things in an email is not a process, it’s an announcement, even a pronouncement. Emails are not conversations. The question is, how do I have a conversation with someone when I am really needing to have that conversation with them if they are unavailable to me? Some people will read and answer an email long before they will answer a call or be available for an appointment.

Add to this the oft made point that the other person cannot read the intonation or see the expression on my face when I email them. Furthermore, there is no way to work through a problem in an email, not like there is in a conversation. The emails create all new problems rather than solving the ones at hand.

Yeah, that sounds terribly rational, even well thought-out and articulated, but the rub is that I sometimes cannot believe just how batshit crazy my emails seem even to me within seconds of hitting that little piece of plastic death… the “send” button. The worse part is, once I realize I have sent a batshit crazy email, I try and follow it with a second or third email… emails that only seem to make all of them in context seem just that much more batshit crazy. I have christened these emails: “Diarrheamails.” In my defense I will say that in a good old conversation none of the things I said in an email would come across as batshit. They may come across as odd, or perhaps misunderstood, but normally in a conversation we can laugh and work our way through it. Usually in a conversation these sorts of things are simply a little amusing, perhaps slightly annoying, but all part of the joy of a real live back and forth. Quite frankly the batshit crazy things I say in emails are the very same things people find fun and eccentric in face to face conversations with me (well… I’d like to think that’s true, anyway). It’s one of the factors in having a little extra personality. Im kinda like Indian food, a little too spicy, not everyone likes it or can take it… but I LOVE it! Well, I love Indian food, not so sure about all this extra personality.

Oh yeah, oh boy do I have email regrets. Dear God, I have such email regrets that they lead to outright panic attacks, sometimes ones that last for days. I mean, I understand all of what I have said above, but I just can’t help myself, and in the end I have to confess that I simply am not capable of handling emailing. I really need to stop it altogether, like I stopped using ebay, like I stopped chatting in every single Yahoo group or chat forum, and just like I recently quite Facebooking. To hell with this, this form of communicating is not for me. Besides, I don’t want to type to people, I want to talk to them. I want to eat with them. I want a line of conversation to flow through the many forests and valleys it needs to follow. Emails don’t flow, they stop ideas and conversations like a dam.

Dear old Tom Hart has endured a few of these email exchanges. Trust me, dear Tom, however annoying those emails may have been… they kept me up at night! Poor Tom, not the only victim, I sent some regrettable emails to my friend Joe in Akron. That was like a Flintstones bit, or a Simpsons bit where I wrote in a fit of anger then panicked when I realized I couldn’t take that stuff back. Fortunately, I had sent them to an old email Joe no longer uses! I guess you do win some, now and again.

The latest email disaster was a conversation I have been having with my doctor. Doctor Matthew Odom, a really fine doctor, half of my panic is over not wanting to lose him due to my finances or my crescendo of emails. I am so thankful to have him. Let’s set the stage. I have lost my healthcare, I have NO insurance. Add to this that I am on some meds that need monitored, and add to that that I have had cancer. Needless to say I am quite worried about my health and my finances, and how the two are so tightly related.

In this unresolved “conversation” (though it’s more of an email version of a one woman show) with my doctor there were so many things loading down on me that I knew each of the four emails I sent must have seemed progressively crazier by degrees. But, I’m worried, I’m scared, and I need help and answers. I’m confused and need a little guidance about how to navigate healthcare without insurance or money. It’s a mess. I don’t think that my emails were all that batshit all things considered. No, don’t get me wrong, there were no rants, no tantrums, no anger, just a lot of fear and worry. For one he wants me to have a second set of bloodtests done. Why? Shit, why? I’ve had cancer, I am facing some pretty severe side-effect possibilities from my meds… why do I need a second set of bloodtests? This can’t be good, can it? See… that’s the sort of crap going on in my emails. Add to this that I need a very important letter written by him, and I haven’t heard if he is willing to do this. Add to this that I was not sure if I could stay with him under the financial strain of having to pay for the visits out of pocket… and I was saying that I may have to seek a clinic, but I’d love for him to keep me on file so I could come back as soon as I had insurance or money. It was a lot of heavy stuff, some pretty good-sized worries. All of it stated sanely, no hostility, but a ton of worry… OK, maybe even panic.

But, dammit Justine, when will you learn NOT to even try and deal with this stuff in an email? Ah… I ask, but how else do I deal with this stuff if he’s a doctor therefor unavailable without an appointment, and expensive (at my current income level) to talk to?

So now, after this barrage of emails, and no response from him, I wonder what the hell is wrong, what the hell is he thinking? Dear God… what have I done? I emailed, that’s what I fuckin’ done!

Note to self: STOP emailing people!

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