The fact that I write online gives the illusion of knowledge of the inner workings of websites. Nothing could be further from the truth. I get by with the bare minimum of navigation, much like a drunk that can make it to the bar and back. I get what I want or need, and I get out. There’s no level of sorcery that I have mastered to do any of this. What has to be done for the words to appear on the screen is all I really know.
That extends into a lot of the areas that are covered by the internet, including email. Yes, email, there are four-year-olds out there with email accounts, and none of those toddlers have destroyed the world yet. I might have come close Saturday morning. Gmail and I had a conversation.
Gmail told me I was using 20% of my 15 Gigabytes of email storage. I do not know much, but I do know that 20% of 15 is 3, and three Gigabytes of emails is a lot of emails. It is an overwhelming amount of emails. It is more emails than Hillary lost.
Dutifully, I went through my inbox and deleted a hundred old emails. It changed nothing. Then where were these emails that were running up the score? I looked in my Sent folder, and yeah, I needed to nuke those, and then I looked in the Spam, and damn, look at all that, but none of these really had that much in them.
Then I discovered “Categories”
Apparently, everything that arrived in my inbox was also stored in different folders in “Categories”. I had not checked these folders since 2007. For thirteen years, email has been building up in these folders, like dust on top of an old abandoned bookshelf.
I deleted tens of thousands of emails. It took an hour.
Wait, there’s more!
Okay, there is also a folder called “All Mail”.
Even after I cleaned out every nook and cranny of every folder, there were still emails from the distant past that showed up in “All Mail”. I had to delete this at five or six at a time, because there were “Important Emails” and emails in the “Hold” folder that showed up there as well, and I need those. By the way, the emails I absolutely have to keep number less than a dozen.
But the whole experience was like deleting a timeline of my life. Email from women I’ve dated, emails from people I’ve known, emails with subject lines of divorce and death passed before my eyes, and were gone, once again. But there were literally thousands and thousands of emails whose voices did not speak to me.
Again and again and yet again, I hit the delete button, and they were, finally, all gone. My inbox is empty. The send folder is empty. Spam and trash are empty. Categories have been disabled. My past is buried, yet again.
I found an email from someone sending me money to help save Lucas. If you were one of those people I haven’t forgotten you, and what you did for us. Thank you. Again. And forever. Some things, some very rare things, things that are really important, we don’t need reminders to remember.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.