Okay, maybe that title isn’t exactly fair. At work, I’m the email boss. I think my replies are timely, succinct, and at times even tastefully humorous. But on the personal front, I suck. If your message requires a quick answer, sure, I get it done. However, those personal emails or messages that are more in-depth and along the lines of “how are the kids?” or “which albums have you been listening to?” or even “what’s your favorites on Netflix there days?” have me stuck. You will not get a reply in under three weeks. It could take years. It is my kryptonite.
Those “fact-only” emails are easy: “can you be at this place on this day?” Yes. Or no. Or how about this instead? Easy. But “how are the kids?” C’mon. I have a friggin website devoted to that with a blog, photos, and videos, but you’ve decided you want it straight from the horses mouth, which is cool, but my brain starts running through a catalog of all the amazing, funny, wonderful, fun, scary things that have happened just in the last week and the thought of transferring it to written word in even the most basic way requires a special place and time. I like you. I like my kids. I want to do you all justice. So you don’t get that reply that’s timely, succinct, or even tastefully funny.
Maybe my standards are too high? Maybe you really don’t care, you’re just being polite, and you want the grocery store checkout lady version: “oh, they’re great, crazy as ever!” Done. But again, I like you. I like my kids. You deserve more. WE deserve more.
On top of all this, throw in the multiple channels that compete on a daily basis. I get phone calls, texts, direct messages and mentions on Twitter, messages on Facebook, and Google+, and oh, right, what’s that old-ass thing called? EMAIL. Granted, I love some of these alternate forms of communication for various reasons:
- DM on Twitter: Great for people to send a private note who don’t have your other info and maybe who you don’t want to have it. Feels less personal and “up in your grill”.
- Facebook/Google+ message: Convenient for people already surfing Facebook, and again, don’t have your other contact info. Feels less personal and “up in your grill”.
- Texts: Great for places you can’t talk and quicker than dialing, ringing, waiting, talking, saying good-bye, hanging up when all you want to say is, “I’m on my way.”
I like being in touch though, that’s the thing. Especially since moving away from my old turf, I feel it keeps me present, even when I’m not. So yes, the obvious answer might be toning it back down to just phone or phone and email, but I don’t think that’s the main issue. For me, it’s that I care too damn much. Words are important. My life and your life, they’re important. I don’t want the checkout clerk or drive-thru version. And it would all be perfect if I just made the time and saved the energy to type out my brain and heart to all your messages, preferrably before a year passes.
Shit. In the time I wrote this damn post, I could have answered at least one of you in my InBox with some finely crafted email love. Next time. I promise.