Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Electronic Death

My yahoo email was hacked last week. But chances are you already knew that. Everyone I have known received an urgent message from me saying I was beaten up and robbed. That day I received reply messages from friends I haven’t spoken to in months, even years. I heard from professional acquaintances, former students and my Mom. Some knew it was fake, others thought it may be real, others just wanted to alert me. Because my life is so tethered to my email, it was like electronic death. I greatly value my privacy and it was a nightmare of great proportions that I had emailed my whole life in one click, from Nigeria. 

But, like the Who’s down in Whoville who had Christmas spirit even when the Grinch stole their gifts and roast beast; the hackers reminded me that there are some caring and lovely humans out there on the end of those clicks, some who I should really reach out to more often, probably via my gmail address. 

This is a post from the archives that I wrote about my dear yahoo mail.

I have lived two lives. One, an occasionally joyous although sometimes inexplicably melancholy, living, breathing, face to face life. And the other, a life of silent expressions that confess, console, question, quit, explain, swear and repent. My other life is my yahoo email.

I have had my yahoo email address for 15 years. Its getting to the point that the address gives me an air of unprofessionalism, immaturity and overall un-tech-savvyness. None of which are ok for me to have. I am going to be 34 this year. I might be a professor one day. I live in New York. I just got an iPhone. I desperately need to move on. These days the '@yahoo.com' makes even the most dignified names, tacky:
jacquelinebouvierkennedyonassis@yahoo.com or gustaveflaubert@yahoo.com.

I have a gmail account and a school address. I never use them. Every day, several obsessive times a day, for 15 years I have signed in and signed out. I check. I check again. I write messages with tears streaming down my face. I write messages in love and in haste. I re-read. I feel powerful and honest. I pour over words and how they sound against one another. I press send. I regret. I wait. I regret. I check.

I don’t like to talk on the phone. So many of my professional contacts and dearest friends are only reached via this email address. If I had to call them, I would be absolutely nowhere. I explain myself far better when I don’t have to speak. I know this can be accomplished on any email server. And this glorious digital age is laden with opportunities to sit at a computer and spill your uncensored guts to an abstract someone (i.e. this blog).

But my whole life is there, on yahoo. Its a dense and unpoetic chronicle. I keep every message. I say too much.