Snowstorms and E-mail: A Holiday Present?

OK. What’s everyone in the DC area complaining about? When you live here in the heartland, you expect the snow and, sheesh, look forward to it. Remember the light dusting of 17 to 20 inches we had in early 2008? Well I do. Here’s the view from my front window. Wonder if I ran outside that day?

Actually, I was thinking about that while running on the modestly snow-covered concrete early this morning. There’s something even more relaxing and peaceful about running in the winter and in the freshly fallen snow.

Clearly the storm that ripped through the East Coast is a serious matter. Several have died as a result of the snowstorm, travel and shopping plans have been disrupted, and I know from experience that digging out from something like this is not all that easy or fun.

Still, if you have the opportunity, relax and enjoy the snowstorm. And I’m starting to embrace the notion that sometimes we need unexpected events to force us out of our routines and take a few minutes to relax. I opined on that early this week — and then chuckled when BlackBerry users (myself included) experienced an e-mail outage.

And I was thinking about that again early this a.m. during my usual routine of scanning the various online news sites and so on. In a WaPo series of articles, John Freeman called out the BlackBerry as one of “The Worst Ideas of the Decade.” Woot. Here’s from the article:

Enabled by an umbilical attachment to the hand-held, the average office worker sent and received 100 e-mails a day in 2009 – almost as many telegrams as a high-output operator sent in Western Union’s heyday.

But those operators simply passed messages along. We’re supposed to think and respond and sort as well. How are we doing? Not very well, considering how many of us spend our mornings and nights and weekends replying to e-mails in an effort to get to the bottom of our inbox.

The problem is, the more e-mails we send, the more we receive. So the empty inbox is a phantom, an impossibility – and the attempt to achieve it the ultimate Sisyphean task.

For those enjoying the East Coast snowstorm and elsewhere, go ahead. Shut down the smart phone. Turn off the computer. And enjoy and relax.

Consider it an early holiday present.

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One response to “Snowstorms and E-mail: A Holiday Present?

  1. Still, if you have the opportunity, relax and enjoy the snowstorm.

    ^That was my favorite line. Good advice.

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