As you may have noticed, the Emu has been on something of a summer, not to mention an autumn break. Not one that’s been particularly intended, but it’s kind of happened that every waking hour has been spent doing stuff other than recording my innermost thoughts in order for one or two people to chance over my workings and tut loudly*.
And many, many of those waking hours have been spent at work. And many of those many, many hours have been spent on one or other end of an email chain.
I have vague recollections of what life was like before email, although I’m not entirely sure whether I remember that clearly how we ever got on with communicating at work. I do remember going to meet people and having conversations, then going home and having a break, but that may be just an old man’s memory playing tricks. I definitely went to a presentation in the late 1980’s, where an enthusiastic user of email stood up to say that if email and the telephone had been invented at the same time then the phone would never have taken off, as it was so intrusive to our waking lives. So we do seem to have come full circle on that one.
Coincidentally, my falling out of love with email, and the security tagging device that is the Blackberry, came around about the same time that I stopped going to the pub. And I stopped going to the pub, partly because the sorts of people who were going to the pub were beginning to irritate me. And this in itself was slightly ironic, because I find myself living in a virtual email pub, with a number of behaviours that are stopping me from enjoying a quiet beer.
For a start, it’s much, much too loud. I’m getting hundreds of conversations a day to listen to, and I can’t decide whether to join in on any of them.
Theres a bloke in one corner who, for reasons best known to himself, is behaving in an aggressive shouty fashion, and irritating anyone within earshot. He’s normally perfectly reasonable, but once he gets inside the pub…
There’s another bloke with a really really loud voice, who seems to think that everybody in the place will need to know about his every waking thought. He likes to address 20-30 people at a time, to save time. He’s got a number of mates who like to add their own opinions (and these often appear to be just for the sake of form) to the same 20-30 people. Even if these initial discussions are interesting, then the subsequent ones are really hard to follow.
Every now and again, someone comes up to me in the pub and says that they’ve been pointed towards me by someone who knows I’ll be interested in them. They weren’t, and I’m not.
Unfortunately, my own special brand of OCD means that I can’t leave the pub until all of these discussions have been had and closed. And if I stop at the bar for half an hour to have a drink, I turn round and they’re all there again, like some unpleasant Greek Hydra. (As opposed to a pleasant Hydra, but you know what I mean.)
Every now and again I nip down to Zuckermans bar or Jack Dorsey’s place, as they’re supposed to be trendier than my local, but I just find that people speak more quicky, more loudly, to more people, and I can’t really get a proper discussion going.
Anyway, I do need a drink. Don’t be there when I turn around. If you need to contact me, write me a letter.
*yes, I mean you