I used to think e-mail was the best thing that ever happened to me. I like to write. I hate the phone. It seemed perfect. The phone supposes that you want to talk to someone at the exact moment that they want to talk to you. E-mail lets you ponder your response and reply in your own time.
I first realized I had phone anxiety when I attempted to leave a message on an answering machine using the clever â€œA as in Alphaâ€ technique. When I got to L, I couldnâ€™t remember anything that started with that letter. So I got nervous, hung up, then called back and lied that there had been a bad connection. E-mail would never render me that vulnerable.
But now I see that email might actually be ruining my life and the lives of those around me. I have a friend who recently e-mailed someone an article that she thought they might find of interest. Before she knew it, she was embroiled in a back-and-forth e-debate over Wal-Mart, homosexuality, and religion.
Perhaps some topics are just a little too heavy for e-mail to handle, and not just in terms of file size. For example, there are matters of the heart (breaking up with someone or declaring your undying love); and, of course, time-sensitive issues (you think youâ€™re having a heart attack but canâ€™t find the 911 website.) So what is e-mail good for? At the very least, it will always remain the method of choice for transferring funds from the bank accounts of Nigerian royalty.