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It can't just be me

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May. 20th, 2009 | 11:15 pm
music: phoenix - lasso

I take email very seriously. If I write you a decent email I'll expect a response, and if it contains a direct question you had better fucking respond or else it's a blatant disregard for the time I dedicated to making said email a little more courteous, funny, or interesting for your pleasure.

People have tried to fuck with me on this recently. I was planning a group outing that required a couple emails and people's availability, and eventually it got to the point where it was like

Alvin, Buddy, and Connor are in.
Darryl and Eleanor are out.
Fink, are you in?

And Fink never responded, because he knew that I thought it was improper not to respond to such emails and he thought it would be funny not to respond.

Fink will never get an email from me ever again. That is another issue entirely, and what prompted this post is not the fact that I've gotten in minor tiffs over email but the fact that multiple times per day, I wish that more communication took place in writing.

Sometimes it's in class, when a professors asks for an opinion that I haven't thought through or researched and I look up begging, Don't you want this in paragraph form? Or a discussion turns into a shouting match and calls for not facts or logic but gestures and rhetorical devices and I get pissed because seriously, what a shitty way to win a debate. Or someone says something so outrageous that I stare directly at them just to see if they'll return with a belligerent countenance that says "go ahead, write it down, because you'll want to quote it later." Most often, I hear something that deeply offends me but I can't succinctly and cuttingly explain why. and a 550-word op-ed piece delivered by print deadline won't have the same impact.

Sometimes it's at work, when I'm dealing with a patron who would never recognize their childish complaints if they wrote down No I will not move three feet to my left to clear the stairs, it is my right to stand wherever I damn well please! Or I'm at someone else's workplace and I'm told that I am not in fact getting the veggie tempura the menu states comes with my meal, and Is that okay? I automatically respond that It's no problem! when I could have prepared a request for a substitution if there'd been a sign posted.

But most often it's a personal matter. Someone wants to know if boy/girl really likes them and what they DON'T want to hear is that I need a moment to think it through. Or someone reveals a tragic event and I know that I could come up with the right comforting response if I only had ten minutes and 150 words. Or a close friend asks a favor that I can't/don't want to give and I think really, if you're going to ask something like that, it's only fair to give a girl a heads-up. Or significant others get upset and say things that aren't true, but since they're crying, you convince them that the discussion would be more productive if it took place over a series of one-page essays.

All of these people are asking for my instinct, or my intellect, or my compassion, and I don't always feel that I have it at the ready. I have these things but not in spades. I need time, I need to cut and paste, I need turns of phrase to compensate for what I lack in quick wit and emotional IQ. It's embarrassing. It's enough to make me want to embrace the oral tradition.

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Comments {3}


from: tedliwinks
date: May. 21st, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)

most of this is over my head in my current state, but all i know is that when i email peopke, i expect a response, and when people email me, i give a response. is that the jist?

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from: freud_chicken
date: May. 22nd, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)

When I'm mad at someone I'll write down what I want to say to them. This serves two functions: (1) sometimes the act of writing is enough to deal with my anger and, if it isn't, (2) I can remember all the points I wanted to make and have a cutting one-liner ready to finish the conversation.

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from: fletch22
date: May. 22nd, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)

I've got a two sided view on this. I'm the same way with emotional responses. Most of the time, unless I have put a lot of thought into what I want or need to say, I do not express myself well and leave out things I want to say. I used email a lot when I was breaking up with Melissa. Whenever we talked it was not productive.

I do think that people often misuse written communication (especially email, texts, twitter, etc.) by saying things that they wouldn't say to a person's face. That really bugs me. Some things are better worked out through two way communication.

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