I was checking emails, hoping as usual for that mystical message that will transport me (and my messy house) to some sort of alternate universe. Really, what correspondence am I waiting for...or better yet, who will it be from...that will make me say "Well thank goodness I stopped at the computer. I can't imagine if I hadn't read that message for another four hours!" Even worse are the times when there is some message that entertains me, as then I feel compelled to wait around for at least ten more minutes-just in case something equally as promising comes through.
So, there were two messages from actual people, as opposed to being from stores like Lands End (who is starting to feel like a stalker...I KNOW how to reach you if I want to place an order!). I decided that I did not care for the tone of either email. I stewed for a little bit, as I am likely to do. I tried to think of responses that would respectfully voice my displeasure. I shared them with the Great Communicator...he just gave me that look. Then, I decided that perhaps I should not check for messages if I was going to assign cause and purpose to them, beyond what the words in type said.
I am not a fan of the overuse of "lol"; however, at least then I know just how amused I should be when I read a message. "Oh, apparently I should be laughing out loud here! Phew, I was oblivious to the sarcasm before seeing that!" My mother left out the "lol" in an email telling me that yes, in fact, whatever I was going on about was just me. That took two more emails for me to find out she was joking! That was five rough minutes for me.
Maybe it would be helpful, if on occasion, there was a a character assigned to an email. If a message started with "Read this email as if I am Jack Nicholson telling you that you can't handle the truth"...well I would know to get all of my defenses ready. Or, "Pretend Brian Williams is delivering this" would tell me that I was about to just be provided with information. If I tell you that an email is channeling Tina Fey, then any hints of sarcasm are intended as just that.
How is it that I can so quickly assign a tone to an email I didn't even craft? I sometimes agonize over outgoing messages as well. I usually call in the Communicator (because when I need another adult's opinion, I like to pretend that he is some sort of Lord of the written word) to review my prose and certify its objectivity. There are times when I just pick up the phone because I am convinced that anything I write on a subject will be misconstrued. Just to clarify, those are times when I am not angry and do not want the receiver of my tidings to think I am...if I really am angry, why would I care what the person thinks!?
Even good old handwriting gives better insight into additional meaning to a message. It's hard to be angry in flowery cursive, but find a post-it note with jagged dark print...uh-oh!