As I was poring over my blog drafts of Jacklyn Past to support my post-a-week throwdown, I unearthed a few old emails that I wrote long ago and inexplicably saved on my hard drive. ..Sometimes I write drafts of emails in Word before copying and pasting to Gmail because I’m a deeply awkward and burdened person in a variety of constantly shifting and exciting ways. While working my way through this thick brush of unnecessary digital recordkeeping, I found an old love letter to The Dave.
Sometimes living as a Type A – that is, one type in a personality theory that is characterized by drive, competition, and a predisposition for stress and heart disease – is burdensome. I would very much like to go to restaurants and not notice the plague of spelling errors that descends upon their menus instead of focusing on the detailed descriptions of food. I would like to, sometimes, be able to just shut the hell up instead of coaching myself to breathe and stay calm when someone asks a question to a group that I know the answer to. I would like to, from time to time, not express my deep and unabashed love for my partner in strange and seemingly robotic ways: by compiling organized and tabbed binders of his important papers, by completing detailed agendas and itineraries in advance of our travel dates, or by writing love notes like this one:
When I opened Chrome and went to Gmail on my computer today, your inbox automatically loaded – supposedly you forgot to log out before your last session. I noticed that it was full of unread messages from the same several companies – urban outfitters, banana republic, and a variety of other stores who have captured your email as you’ve shopped – all newsletters that you clearly don’t read which just pile up in your inbox. Meanwhile, notices from the light company that I remember you were hunting last month were buried unread among them.
I imagine it must be daunting. So I went ahead and opened one of each of the generic emails from spammy companies and unsubscribed. I did not unsubscribe to anything that was not a big box store or that was from a group that only emailed you occasionally just in case you wanted to keep getting updates from those.
I then did a filtered search for all the items from those places from which I unsubscribed, and marked all of them as “read” so that your inbox doesn’t look full all the time with things you’ll never read and which aren’t truly tasks. I didn’t delete them; I just marked them as read.
I then reconfigured your inbox into three separate sections, so that the top is reserved solely for unread messages, the second portion is flagged messages, and the third is everything else. Now you can read an email, move on if you don’t care, respond if you do, or flag it if you don’t have time but want to keep it visible.
I also enabled a coded flagging system so that you can mark a message with two different color stars (which can mean whatever you want), with an exclamation point (I demonstrated this by marking a few with it) or with a green check mark in case you want assurances that you completed something.
Anyway, I hope that you don’t find this invasive and that you’re relieved and this helps your workflow. You’ll see some old messages have moved to the top of your inbox now because once I got rid of all the spam or unread newsletters and marked it as read, it turned out you had very few emails of substance.
It might be easier to stay on top of things now. If not, I’m truly sorry. Please let me know how you honestly feel about this. I closed out and logged into my email to send this message so my fiddling session is complete.
I love you.
For reasons I cannot fully explain, The Dave and I just reached nine years together and are going strong in spite of moments like the one you just beheld. If you, like me, are a Type A, you can take comfort in this artifact and my recent anniversary celebration, knowing there is probably love for you somewhere. Someone out there will translate your sorting of their email inbox into what you intend (butterflies, romance, sparklemagic). Somewhere out there is a partner who will smile lovingly at your madness and try really hard to be grateful for the systems that you constantly force on them through your oddly-formed love language.
And if you’re not one of the burdened in our society and can’t find it in yourself to see the romance in their gestures, I urge you to at least exercise compassion for their painful existences. You’ll only have to do it for a short time; with the stress and heart disease and all, you’re almost certain to outlive us. ♣