At this moment, there are exactly 2064 emails in my Inbox. This is in addition to the 1813 messages in my Sent Items folder, and perhaps 1500 others that are scattered throughout twenty carefully labelled subfolders. Worse, the total number of emails represents less than one year of academic detritus, having accumulated since I last cleared out my folders in March.
Good grief, what has become of me?
It wasn’t so long ago that I thought of email as an almost magical form of play. I wrote long, drifting electronic letters to friends the world over. I sent missives of absurdist dialogue and dada poetry to people I had never met. I engaged in endless written foreplay with present and potential lovers, luxuriating in the feel of words meant for paper or the dark.
Now, I write memos and schedule meetings and collect calls for papers for conferences I could never possibly attend. I negotiate; I clarify; I follow-up. I thank people in advance for their time and encourage them to contact me at their earliest convenience. I am cyborg in the sense of a mule and its cart, and there is no technological revolution in sight.
It is, without question, Monday.