This is depressing

I don’t sort my e-mail this well.

Of course, that’s not saying much. I currently have 901 messages in my inbox, 78 of which I haven’t even read. It’s not actually quite as bad as all that. Most of the unread messages are spam — I’m just too lazy to mark them as such and move them to the spam folder.

Then there’s the semi-spam: spam from people who you know, such as my kids’ school’s weekly Wednesday letter. Most of the information is truly spam, but then there’s the occasional non-spam message, such as all students in sixth through eighth grade must bring swimsuits to school tomorrow. So at some point, I’d better slog through it.

Meanwhile, in Japan, people dispose of the unused lipstick separately from the lipstick tube.

Semi-spam includes notices of sales from stores I occasionally shop at: I do need new running shoes, so perhaps I ought to look through the 30 or so e-mails from runnersworld.com to see if there are any bargains to be had.

There’s also the real spam with intriguing subject lines. I have an unopened message from “cat” entitled “wetsuit.” I certainly don’t have any friends named Cat, and I’ve never even tried on a wetsuit, but such an enigmatic piece of spam might just warrant three or four seconds’ worth of consideration.

There’s the real messages from real people where the entire substance of the message is conveyed in the subject line: “pick the kids up at 4,” or “meeting tonight cancelled.” I probably shouldn’t just trash these messages, because sometimes people put extra little tidbits of information in them, but somehow I haven’t gotten around to reading them.

In Japan, there are trash inspectors who leave notes when your garbage is sorted into the 34 possible categories incorrectly.

I have 137 unread messages that have been automatically placed in the wordmunger.com mailbox. These are notifying me of new trackback or comment spam. Or there might be a legitimate comment or two there — perhaps a real commenter is named “video poker” or “Cortisone.” Every day the pile of unsorted trash in my inbox gets bigger.

At least I don’t live in Japan.

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2 Responses to This is depressing

  1. Anne says:

    Very funny post. Though I must say, even as buried as I am under unanswered mail, paper and e-, I find the Japanese solution strangely thrilling. Vertiginous.

  2. Anne says:

    1 & 2, for sure, but in a good way–the promise of order leading suddenly to a dizzy, overwhelming chaos, a Borgesian trap.

    I’ll see you in the comments box…

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