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I Am An E-Mail Addict!

What once were vices are now habits

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: May 13, 2002


I Am An E-Mail Addict!


I have been on-line for about six years and only quite recently did I realize that I might be addicted.

To e-mail.

The whole thing started innocently enough with a used 386 computer and AOL. I remember the first month or two when the ?You have mail? announcement was made by the AOL geek. The whole family would come by and ask who mailed you? We would gather around the small screen and read some kind of advertisement. Soon, a few high tech friends would send notes, and the newness for some wore off, but for me it didn?t. I still get a rush from getting e-mail.

I went though a phase when I signed up for every e-mail service and received many ad tips for the day, daily insults, jokes, whatever. This went on until the AOL geek?s voice started to get on my nerves. He sounded too much like a bailiff, but that is a whole other story.

The honeymoon for AOL and us was over when I realized we could not turn down the geek voice, and his announcements became so invasive and insistent we bought a state-of-the-art computer and took on another server.

With the new computer and the high-speed modem, it was a whole new world; I cruised the internet in a Turbo Porsche, instead of a Ford Festiva. The new server did not have a voice, it just brought in e-mails and the sometimes-eclectic attachments crystal clear, and I was hooked more than ever.

There is something about e-mail that is mysterious. An e-mail can change your life, get you fired or can nurture a cross-country friendship. I am now closer to my sister in Oregon and my daughter in San Diego than ever.

What once were vices are now habits.

I habitually check e-mail every half-hour or so, and most of the time now I don?t realize that I am doing it. In between TV shows at night I find myself at the screen hoping to get mailed. There are folks who can check the mail over the cell phone. I am not there yet, I work at home so a cell phone for me is redundant.

The anticipation of an e-mail or e-mails in general, are usually in hopeful reciprocation of a note or a comment you mailed someone, or if you are a writer, some mess you are trying to start. Einstein said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I surmise that since it?s people like Einstein who invented the Internet in the first place this principal should hold true for e-mail most of the time.

There have been times when I have yelled at the computer or verbally responded to an e-mail causing me to experience a revelation that I am indeed emotionally involved in e-mail. As soon as I wake up I check, as soon as I get home I check, if I haven?t checked for a few hours I check, If I have a feeling that something good is about to happen I check. I will sit there and stare at the screen anticipating a large document or a list of 12 or more incoming.

Once a movie company accidentally sent me 84 e-mails announcing a premiere of a new film, and I read about 67 of them until I realized it was a mistake. When I saw that there was 84 incoming I thought I hit the e-mail lotto.

Because of this high tech written communication system, it can be ackward talking in person with someone you frequently e-mail. If and since e-mail has to be condensed into a relatively few short words, you manage to tell the gist of your best stories on-line.

When you find yourself face-to-face, you realize, usually too late, that your friend already knows the end of your story, and you know the end of theirs. This causes high tech people to be boring in person.

I?ve tried to kick the habit, and have gone a few days without checking, usually when I?m on the road, ?conveniently? forgetting my passwords and such so I can?t access my e-mail from another computer. This process has proven successful and after a few weeks...OK days...OK hours...it seems to work pretty well.

I know that there are thousands of you out there that have a similar problem so feel free to send an e-mail to this web site in care of me so we can talk about trying to kick.

It is not like I am going to be waiting for a response.


About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a contributing columnist.

Send your comments on this story to: letters@latinola.com




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