I was IMing with a friend this morning when he sent me the following message:
you make these announcements every once in a while–“I deleted all my email!” “I threw away your contact information!” “I stopped reading your blog!”–in such a way as to prove that you are an incredibly wired person who really enjoys messing with the wired world.
At first, i was like hrmfpt! And then i pouted. All because i knew that there was a grain of truth to that. It made me think through a bit of my own behavior. I’ve always loved inserting uncertainty into my wired life. When i first got a pager, i made it very clear both through my behavior and my statements that i was not on beck and call. I leave my mobile on vibrate purposely to ignore any calls that might come through when my purse is across the room. I have email auto-check turned off so that i have to manually ask for more email. I like the fact that my spam filter keeps messing up. I love the fact that if you IM me, it might go to my phone or it might go to my computer and i might or might not get it.
I have information control issues. Worse, i have information overload guilt issues. After opening up my RSS reader to 1600 unread blogs, i just deleted them. I couldn’t deal with the overhead of knowing that i’d never get through all of them. I refuse to check my voice mail because it tells me that there are 14 messages; that’s just far too many. I stopped reading messages that went via YASNS 6 months ago because Orkut overloaded me.
People often ask me what the best way to contact me is. Inside, i laugh. I don’t really want to be easily reachable always. I have communication mood swings. One of my favorite bad habits that most of my friends despise is that i become unwilling to deal with the phone. Thus, when people call me, i answer and hand the phone over to whoever is with me to talk.
It’s weird. I’m obsessively accountable to certain people. But when i don’t feel the internal requirement/responsibility to be accountable to someone, i swing to the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s not really flakiness because if i promise that i will respond, i will. It’s a peculiar lack of willingness to have my energy controlled externally when it doesn’t have to be that way.
I used to beg forgiveness and vow that i’d get better about communications. I stopped three years ago when a friend pointed out that i promised the improvement every six months and continued to get worse. He was right. So i stopped thinking that i’d improve and accepted the fact that i wouldn’t.
Reflecting on my communication quirks makes me realize how much i identify with my cat. [Self-reflective moment brought on by Day 3 of extreme jetlag combined with terrible cold.]