I have been in a fog for nearly three weeks. My close co-worker is in a downward spiral, sinking, sinking to death. Every day Fanny is able to do a little less. Fanny is my old computer, of course. And this has left me in a fog. Louise, my new computer, is trying to fill in and finally take over, but it’s been slow going. My fingers have been flying over both sets of keys, trying to save what I can and transfer it. (Many of you may recognize that “fog” and “fingers” are suggested prompt words for blogs.)
One of my last projects on Fanny was to go through all the email on my primary account. It was established in 2007 when I installed a new internet server. I went wireless and thus began an eight-year collection of emails, stored in Fanny’s deep recesses. Well, I didn’t want to lose all those addresses, so how much trouble would it be to go through them, check each one, copy down addresses, forward some to one of my own other email addresses (more recently established), and even delete some that were so old they would no longer open. Videos, for example, just don’t last. As I checked the numbers, it looked like I only had 294 emails. How long could that take to check out, after all?
For four days… FOUR DAYS… I went down the list, or up the list, or by name or by date, or by subject matter, or whatever, trying to move out those 294 emails. By the fourth day, when the number became seven, I finally realized it was not seven emails, but seven pages of emails. How many were on a page? I had no idea.
So, you’re asking, why did you save so many? Haven’t you heard of the “handle it once” theory? When a piece of mail comes in read it and dispense with it to its final location, whether that be in a folder or in the waste basket. Shouldn’t the same apply to email messages?
Yes, I say, but think about this. From now and into the future, biographers will not have the personal correspondence (actual letters) of their subjects to pour over. How will their stories be told without this vital primary source? I had saved these pieces of correspondence in defiance. I was doing my part to save history. And now I had become the biographer pouring over the remains.
However, by doing so several facts came to light. l For one, l came to realize that the child who had moved several time zones away kept in frequent touch. I have had the feeling that she rarely gets in touch, hardly ever calls, never writes, and probably doesn’t even remember who her mother is. Not so! There were hundreds of emails from her, some quite long, and all imparting information about what she’s doing and expressing interest in what I’m doing.
I also learned that an elusive first cousin may move from place to place and not give me her mailing address, but she emails. She also comments on my activities on my Facebook page. Yes, I do hear from her. And from my sister-in-law as well, who is a busy, busy lady. How could l not realize this?
I’m a paper person, I guess. And the fog I’ve been in is a lot older than two or three weeks. Pardon me, ladies, for not recognizing that you are truly keeping in touch, except that you are doing it in a present-day way. But I still like the old way – going to the mail box, having the thrill of receiving a hand-addressed envelope, opening it and holding several handwritten pages of news. In this instance, I am not keeping up.