June 29, 2008

the battle of the inbox

"Good Luck, Gamer Girl " bracelet

My inbox, it taunts me. I don't know if it is my recent time spent with people who are really into gaming, but I see my email situation as a bit of Battle of the Inbox. It's like a video game to me, a great deal like Tetris. The goal is to clear all the lines, so that more things can drop in to fill the space. This is how I see email. The goal is to get the inbox emptied as soon as possible, and it is sometimes a race to do that.

I have two major email clients that I use. I use Outlook for all my major website and business emails. Then for my more chatty friend mail and business mail that requires less immediate attention, I use Gmail. The Outlook mails get processed and filed as soon as possible. I like to be efficient with my business correspondence, answering questions and responding to ideas and thoughts in a prompt manner. They are the first things I check in the morning, and I play my best game there. The goal of clearing the emails is quick and efficient, and I am usually triumphant! Woot! a clear inbox, for the win! Today the list is a little long. A half hour in Quickbooks entering orders will clear many mails, and a few minutes of cut and paste should clear most of the rest pretty quickly. A few mails will linger, as they are important things that do need to be done but at a later time, with a future due date, so they can stay.

My gmail though, is currently at least 20 mails deep. And these mails are the type of correspondences that cannot be cleared easily, with a simple cut and paste, or an entering of data into another processing program. They are mails sent with love and thought, and must be answered with the same amount of emotion and care. Some are so full of emotion, and I am so touched by them, that it is hard to even open them and read them again, let alone respond. Some have been sitting in the box for several days, maybe a week. Many of them probably do not even need a response, as they were sent to me in a moment of giving by the sender, with no need for response. But each contains at least a kernel of something that has touched me, that I need to keep at hand for a while, before clicking the "reply" or "archive" button.

I guess I have declared a Time Out for this game, and I am sure the other players will understand, as they are friends who are here for me. And today I wonder if actually, in this instance, the game has changed. Indeed, right now I think that the lack of the cleared inbox is not at all my Epic Fail. I think this screen full of tiles and patterns, emails and comments, stacked to the hilt, carefully teetering one upon another, the players filling the space in a most colorful and vibrant way... perhaps this is actually a new game. It is a game of friendship and I am indeed a winner. And you know what? I think that all the players are winners right along with me... it is not a game of competition or of personal achievement anymore, this Battle of the Inbox.

I suppose it is all in how you play the game.


  1. The people who love and care about you know that you've got a lot on your plate. There really are multiple games going on, and though they may look similar and involve many of the same components, the rules are much different. You've got the kind of personality and inner strength to make you a winner in just about any game you chose to play.

  2. aha! yes we are speaking the same language here, i do believe. I agree, there are many games abound. I am just now trying to identify them and find the rulebooks! And of course, sometimes the rules need to be written and altered during gameplay, so that adds another element, doesn't it?

    Thank you for the confidence in me, I appreciate it.