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    Patience is an e-virtue

    The person this is directed at is not one of the acquaintances I expect to be reading this, but just to contribute to the edification of the world at large:

    An e-mail message is not a summons by royal bugle. I don’t check every account I have daily, and I often wait until I have a meaningful response before, you know, responding. It doesn’t mean I’m dead or ignoring you. Surely you can find something to do for 48 hours of turnaround time.

    A client or colleague writing to my work address has a right to expect a prompt response. Additionally, any of the following three people conveying the following three messages can assume I will respond immediately, possibly before I’ve read to the end:

    Hi, Honey.

    Accident at the plant. Your father’s in the burn unit, but he’ll be out in a few weeks. They think. Call me for an update–don’t worry about the hour.




    My love,

    The pressure from my boss is too great, and I’ve finally decided to cave and marry that eligible Todai grad in the HR department. I adore you more than life itself, but I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to be out of the apartment by the end of the month. Feel free to take the Imari, but leave the Bohemian glasses.



    Mr. Kinsell,

    Word is you’re a revelation in the sack. I’m in town to shoot a Toyota commercial; meet me, 11 p.m., Shinjuku Park Hyatt, Room **** to see how much these bagpipes can still blast.

    S. Connery

    If you’re not any of the above, I will write back on my own time–not because I think I’m busier and more important than you are, but because that’s all I expect of people I’m corresponding with myself. There’s enough pointless hurry in modern life without adding it to shoot-the-breeze private correspondence. Good grief.

    11 Responses to “Patience is an e-virtue”

    1. Michael says:

      Love it! My favorite post this week.

    2. Mrs. du Toit says:

      You got an email like that from S. Connery too?

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Glad I didn’t go three for three. :)
      My dear, of course. When you’ve been everywhere and done it all, who’s going to hold your interest but the mouthiest bitch with the most moxie in the greater metro area?

    4. Toren says:

      Hear, hear.
      It sometimes takes me a week or more to respond to an email, and some folks do the midnight cocaine freakout ofter about 12 hours.
      I also often don’t answer the phone if I’m not in the mood, or busy doing something, and the reaction from guests can be amusing. “Aren’t you going to GET THAT?!?!?”
      Uh, no.

    5. Sean Kinsell says:

      Man, that’s a psychological divide I think is unbridgeable. Before I figured out how to use dedicated ring tones for calls from Atsushi and my office, I’d frequently hear my cell phone ring, frantically root around in my pocket for it, see on-screen that it was from someone else, and toss the phone on the table without answering it. Then I’d get back into the existing conversation.
      Whoever I was with would look at me as if I’d just turned down an audience with the Pope. “You just went through all that effort to get the phone, and now you’re not going to answer it?” Well, no. The effort to retrieve the device is now a sunk cost. It doesn’t justify pouring more resources into chit-chat with whoever’s calling, especially since you and I are already talking.
      And at home? Every call is screened, with no apologies, unless it’s around midnight here and I’m fairly certain it’s someone I know from home and not a telemarketer.

    6. Michael says:

      I didn’t mean “best post I’ve read HERE this week.”
      I meant: My favorite post this week – anywhere.
      Made me laugh.

    7. Mrs. du Toit says:

      I hate phones. What I hate even more is voicemail, which is why we never check it. We should probably re-record the message so people don’t bother leaving us a message we’ll never hear (did you know they expire at some point and magically disappear on their own?), but that would involve using the phone, and I hate the phone.
      Don’t even get me started on the doorbell.

    8. Sean Kinsell says:

      Michael, thanks. Why can’t you make comments like that all the time?
      Connie, does voicemail come with your phone service, or something? I assume so, otherwise you wouldn’t have asked for it, eh? I basically did the minimal subscription: no call waiting, call forwarding, conference calling, or any other extras designed to make sure you can NEVER, EVER escape people ANYWHERE.

    9. Michael says:

      Heh. Not my job to make you feel pretty all the time! Atsushi??? Reading??? Daddy needs some love…

    10. Eric Scheie says:

      Sean Connery never wrote to ME!

    11. Sean Kinsell says:

      Oh, honey, he probably figured you were out of his league.