No matter how much time I spend reading and answering e-mail, I never catch up.  I suppose if I did nothing else, I could catch up — but then I suspect that half the people to whom I’d just responded would write back to me again before I’d even finished.  My inbox is like that mythological pitcher that never gets empty no matter how many glasses I fill out of it.

I’m not complaining, just explaining — because, as I stated in my Facebook status update last night, “John Burroughs has come to the conclusion he may never catch up on e-mail — and maybe that’s not the end of the world after all.”  Heck, I’m not even caught up on my a-mail and b-mail.  Though I try to carefully scan through and pick out ones I think can’t wait, I’m sure some slip through the cracks. 

Sometimes, too, the frivolous ones — or at least the quick and easy — get answered first.  It’s a whole lot easier to find 15 seconds to respond than to find an hour.  And I sometimes catch myself in the unfortunate mindtrap where I think: “Okay, I can spend an hour giving this important one the attention it deserves or I can spend that hour answering (and getting rid of) 120 easy ones — so let me do the 120, because if I do just the one, I’ll receive at least sixty more in my inbox by the time I finish it and then I’ll be even further behind.”  So the important one gets put off and the bullshit gets addressed.  Or other times I’ll spend half a day on important ones only to find myself buried in a much higher pile of unread e-mail when I’m finished.

Again, I’m not necessarily complaining.  Or if I am, I’m not complaining about the mail or its senders — I’m complaining about my lack of time and inability to efficiently handle it all.  Mostly I’m just explaining.  I don’t wanna discourage people from writing.  I’ve always enjoyed mail — in prison mail call was my favorite time of every day — and here at home all day long is mail call.  But I don’t want people to feel hurt or pissed off or think I’m an asshole because they haven’t gotten an answer from me yet.

The fact that my GoDaddy e-mail server and Facebook inbox have experienced technical difficulties this month hasn’t helped.

As of 8:00 a.m. EST on 28 October 2009, here are the number(s) of unread messages in my various boxes:

Facebook: 61
MySpace: 32
Road Runner: 670
Yahoo: 114
Crisis Chronicles: 2013

And bear in mind that I already read and dealt with at least 200 this morning before compiling those numbers.

So if you haven’t heard from me, it doesn’t mean you’re not important to me.  And though I feel like shit about it, it really isn’t the end of the world.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself today.