That’s how many e-mails are in my inbox at work…oops…8,496 now. There are at least 4,000 on my desktop computer at home and easily another 1,000 on my laptop. And that’s just my work and “home” e-mail accounts. There’s also an account at gmail and one at yahoo.Before you start thinking that I must be the most popular person ever, let me give you an example of a typical e-mail exchange:
Me: Lunch today?
Friend: Sure. Where?
Me: I don’t care. What do you feel like?
Me: No…had that yesterday. The Mexican place?
Friend: Which one?
Me: The good one…with that stuff we like.
Friend: OK. Noon?
Friend: Sure…I’ll pick you up.
Me: Cool. See ya then.
(10 minutes later)
Friend: Sorry, just remembered I can’t do lunch today.
Me: Lunch today?
Friend #2: Sure. Where?
And so it goes. That’s 8 new messages delivered to my inbox.
The question here is not why I have these inane e-mail exchanges, but why I keep them–for years in some cases. This record of daily minutiae is of no interest to anyone–including me. It’s not like some anthropologist is going to uncover my e-mails a thousand years from now use them as the definitive example of life in 2009. It’s not like I need to read them to prove that I have friends.
So why don’t I erase them?
Because I don’t have to. All that unlimited space is an open invitation for unlimited clutter.
My cell phone, on the other hand, has very definite limits. Once I get around 50 text messages, my box is full. The same is true for photo storage–something that really fills up fast when my phone manages to turn itself on and take pictures of the inside of my purse.
But what if I erase something important? What if I erase that message someone sent me two years ago with that recipe I really wanted? Or a cute picture? Or a receipt for something I ordered? Or what if I need an alibi for a murder I’m accused of? (I know…too much Law and Order.)
What if…what if…what if.
But I’m fixin’ to do it. I’m going to clean out my inboxes.
Hope you didn’t send me anything important in 2006 because it’ll be cyber-history soon.