[EDITORIAL NOTE: It tells you something about Crabby's week, if not life, that you are getting missives (read: complaints) from her two days in a row. Aren't you lucky.
Every day, Crabby Old Lady struggles to keep up with email. It's been a losing battle for years. She slips behind several days then schedules a few hours to catch up and the most common result is that her tush turns to stone in the desk chair as the hours creep by and she still hasn't finished.
Of course, Crabby is not alone. Not infrequently she reads of busy people who have 20,000 or 30,000 unread emails in their inboxes. Hers stretch “only” to hundreds.
It helps – to a degree – that Crabby color-codes some types of incoming. Bills are fluorescent pink, for example, and the emails she receives of every comment posted to this blog and The Elder Storytelling Place are red. The latter means she doesn't need to constantly check online to keep up with comments through the day.
Personal friends are purple. Certain newsletters are blue. Elder Storytelling Place submissions are green. And Crabby has forgotten what orange is for. Everything else is black including junk by the daily dozens that bought her address from websites that undoubtedly assured her they never sell addresses.
If you don't count those sleazy retailers, Crabby's junk settings generally work quite well; it has been years since a fake Nigerian has asked her to wire money.
There are a plethora of apps, add-ons and, most of all, advice from self-styled experts who, with fake patience, purport to have the answer for cleaning out your inbox. The item that each one of them seems to think no ever thought of before is to read email in reverse order of receipt.
Come on. Anyone older than 25 has been doing that since email was born.
Crabby has been trying to get out of email bankruptcy for so long, there's nothing she doesn't know about it – what works (not much) and what doesn't (everything else).
Undoubtedly, Crabby's largest difficulty is that she feels obligated to answer almost all email from real people. She is talking about the (mostly) kind people with questions, suggestions or general thoughtfulness in regard this blog. (What would Saturday's Interesting Stuff be without all those ideas flowing in?)
But what has prompted today's blog post is that due to busy-ness, old-fashioned sloth and maybe creeping old age (she seems to be slower in general lately), Crabby is now about two weeks behind in blog-related email and that adds up to - as of this moment - 761 unread emails.
And so, as soon as Crabby is finished writing this post, she is going to take the most extreme solution there is for email bankruptcy: she will highlight her entire inbox and click “delete.”
There is nothing else she can do and remain sane. It will rid her of the guilt for not answering and give her a clean slate.
If any of you reading have sent an email in the past ten days or two weeks that you believe must have an answer, okay, send it again. But please, Crabby is begging now, think it over carefully. She desperately needs a break from email.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Maureen Browning: Fuzzy Math