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A Flood of Unread Emails

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on March 28, 2009 3 Comments

Gmail tells me I have 1,884 unread emails in my inbox. Calmail informs me I have 121 unread emails. And mail.yahoo.ca urges me to attend to 295 unread emails. Fortunately, at least in the case of Gmail, the number is “off.” What happened was, when I first started my Gmail account, I retrieved all the emails from my Calmail account. They were all marked as “Unread” when they arrived in Gmail. However, since then, scores of unread emails have been added: Facebook notifications (“XYZ added you as a Friend“; “RFY commented on your status“; “GHI superpoked you!”) I never got around to deleting; Second Life friend adds that I never glanced at nor was invested enough to actually banish from my inbox; Napster, Youtube, Google News Alert updates; insane spam messages that have somehow managed to evade my high filter settings; messages from Nigerian “entrepreneurs” on phishing expeditions; The New York Times daily Opinion briefs; Digg notifications; Barack Obama futilely exhorting me for donations; Cal Athletics telling me about upcoming events; random newsletters I must have signed up for; and legitimate emails I meant to attend to but never got around to; etc etc etc, ad nauseam. I will never revisit 99% of these emails, or ever delete them-it is far too late now. I am sure somewhere in there are important emails that just got lost in the crowd, I don’t know.

The growing number of unread messages glares at me every single time I log on, taunting me, telling me that I am somehow inadequate, that I am behind, overwhelming me with the sheer number of emails I will never get to.

It is not a trickle, it is a flood. What do I do? I cannot possibly delete my account and start a new one; then I’d have to bring over all Gmail, Yahoo, AND Calmail messages, for I cannot bear to delete emails. I have emails going back to 1996. I have emails in duplicates, in triplicates even, some finding their way from Yahoo to Calmail and then to Gmail…and not knowing which ones they are, I end up not deleting them anywhere. And thusly the floodwaters threaten to overrun the landscape of my networked life. Oy.

I am resigned to having these mostly unnecessary, unwanted words camping out in my inbox for an eternity, carving our undeletable illegal dwellings. Kind of like textual tenants that you can never evict. Any advice is welcome: if you don’t want to comment here, shoot me an email. Or then again, maybe not.

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3 Responses to “A Flood of Unread Emails”

  1. Youki on: 28 March 2009 at 10:05 pm

    hah “Après moi, le déluge.”

  2. Usree Bhattacharya on: 28 March 2009 at 10:45 pm

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  3. daveski on: 1 April 2009 at 11:13 am

    What’s almost as interesting as this post that resonates with all of us I’m sure (unless someone out there has figured out a way to cut through the backlog) is the little screen captures from your inboxes…158 drafts saved in your Gmail account (forgive me for peeping) makes “textual tenants” seem less stagnant somehow and more like participants in dialogs held in suspension, maybe within some kind of bizarre amniotic admixture that both nourishes and overpopulates, layering new possibilities and challenges on true dialog. whatever that is. Makes me rethink the word “Inbox” though.

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