I can write long emails.
Martin will come up behind me, glance at an email I’m writing, do a double-take, and burst out, horrified, “Carol! You can not send that to so-and-so!”
But I do. I always do. I can’t help it. I have things to say.
Actually, I don’t.
It’s a special gift of mine, writing pages and pages without saying a single thing.
Most of my friends don’t read them. The long ones, anyway. They see an email from me and open it cautiously, the computer or phone an arm’s distance away, squinting out of the corner of their eye like it’s a bomb about to explode. They fearfully scroll down to assess the email’s length. Down… down… down…. And slowly realize it’s another abomination, pages and pages of text. It could take days to read.
They’re still scrolling down. No way! They start to get indignant. How long can she go on? It’s clearly a classic Carol email. And then, with an impatient snort, they just delete it. And write back to me: “Got your email! Wow, that was something!”
It pretty much tips me off: They didn’t read it.
One friend freely admits she doesn’t read them. “I can’t do it!” she moans. “They’re too long! Just… call me next time!” Another friend brags to me, “I read every word! Every single word! Do I get a medal or something?”
Karen, though, is special. She patiently reads every email, generally without complaint. And I send her a lot of them.
She’ll go on vacation. I’ll send her an email. And she’ll sit loyally in her hotel room, hunched over her phone in a little pool of light, reading, and miss practically her entire vacation. Her family will say, “We’re going to breakfast now!” and she’ll wave her hand at them vaguely, plowing through my email. She reads stubbornly, determined to finish, while they go hang out by the pool, spend the afternoon shopping, have dinner, and go to a show.
By the time she’s done and looks around, bleary-eyed and stiff, they’re all back in bed, asleep.
That’s when she discovers her butt is sore.
It’s her only complaint. My emails are so long, they give her pressure sores.
“My bottom hurts,” she tells me a bit crossly, rubbing it.
I remind her crisply that I had to sit there and write the thing.
I get pressure sores, too, honey.
Then we both rush to drop our pants, right there in the staff break room, to see who has the bigger sore, the writer or the reader.
“Look! Look at this big red spot, 5cm x 3cm!” I crow, pants down, pointing. “See? See how red it is? Press it! No blanching! That’s a Stage 1 pressure sore, right there!” And I proudly turn so she can see how red it is.
“Yeah, but mine is worse!” she brags, eagerly pulling her pants down. “Look! Right there! Not only red, but the skin is broken! See where it’s open?”
“Let me see! ” I say, peering closely at her bottom, jabbing at it. “By god, you’re right. That’s a Stage 2! Are you sure my skin isn’t broken, too? Look at mine again!” I turn around and bend over.
She examines me meticulously. “No,” she says, prodding me here and there with her finger. “No, it’s just red, a Stage 1. Here, look at mine again! Right here!” She pivots so I can inspect the broken skin, hunches over helpfully, peers back at me. “Do I need a dressing on it?”
“Turn this way, I want to see better.” I grab her, angle her backside towards the light and squint, assessing the wound. “Yes,” I declare. “I can put it on for you. Want me to do it? I’ll do it for you right now!”
Hopefully no one walks into the break room right then.
Imagine the scene:
A co-worker enters and finds Karen and me standing in the middle of the room, pants around our ankles, grabbing each other’s asses, inspecting each other closely.
We’re boldly asserting to each other, “Want me to do it? I’ll do it for you right now!” or “Bend over more! I want to look again!” or “Look at mine now! I want you to look at mine!”
No two ways about it.
That’s just an awkward situation.
I should really learn to write shorter emails.
Or maybe Karen and I just need to keep our pants on at work.