Friday, April 25, 2014

You Haven't Got Mail

My name is Petrea and I am an email addict.

23 years ago I had the help of Nicotine Anonymous to quit smoking. I consider myself an addict still because I know if I smoked just one cigarette I'd be a regular smoker again.

When you're addicted to a substance, even one as seemingly benign as cigarettes, you hide. You separate yourself from the world. There's shame involved. You want to quit but quitting is physically and emotionally excruciating. You are a slave to that substance and you must do what is required in order to get it. If you're a smoker, you have to go outside at parties, no matter the weather. Your mind departs every conversation as soon as the nicotine cracks its whip. Worst, non-smokers won't date you.

I sat in those Nicotine Anonymous meetings and listened to heroin addicts talk about how nicotine was the hardest thing to quit. That helped me, because I knew they'd been through so much.

I wonder if they can help me now.

Now my drug of choice is email, and I haven't been able to log on for days. It doesn't matter how it happened, or why. I am a slave to it and in order to get it back I must go to Apple's Genius Bar. While I wait for my appointment I am adrift, aimlessly surfing the web, a junkie on a shiny silver raft. It's excruciating to be unable to get my fix.

When I quit smoking, for months I abused sugar-free candy and gum. I ate a lot of actual food, too, and gained enough weight to go up a size. I discovered fine coffee. I used all these substances like I had used nicotine.

What is there for me now? Books? I mainline books. The great outdoors? Bah! I dose on that junk every day.

Facebook is boring. Twitter is chirpy. What will I do to feed my habit until everything works again?

Must I make phone calls? Oh, the horror!

24 comments:

altadenahiker said...

Oh, I feel for you. I've always hated the telephone, and if someone insists on that as a means of communication, I sound like a Kazakhstani refugee.

Bellis said...

It's a relief to know you feel that way, Karin. I really don't like using the phone, probably because I always seem to ring people at an inconvenient moment. Email's OK but Whatsapp's good as well - if you have a Smartphone. It's like text messaging, but better and free. I couldn't live without email though. I'm surprised you're not sleeping outside the Apple Shop to get quicker help from the Geniuses, Petrea. Hope you're back in touch soon. `

đỗ quỳnh said...


you try to get rid of bad habits and harmful to the body but sank into another hazard, you've tried everything. glad your efforts.hopy

Bergson said...


you take sports shoes and you will hike.
if you meet people, do not hesitate to speak their

Dina said...

You have my full sympathy, Petrea.
I love the way you explain it.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

What about text junkies? Nothing is worse than when a guy texts a girl for a date.. that happened to me and I was offended...My kids choose texting over calling.. For me texting means 'give me the info I need' ... slowly, I've picked up that habit... tho I admit, its great if you don't want to respond over the phone... breakup via texting is a godsend for non confrontational folks.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hiker, my phone rarely rings and I like it that way.

I like texting, Bellis. In fact I like communicating in general, even in person. I don't know what it is about the phone.

đỗ quỳnh, yes, it's a bad habit! Especially because I sit in the chair too much.

Bergson, that's good advice and one of my favorite things to do. I take my phone with me only so I can take pictures.

Thank you, Dina. Sometimes sympathy is all we need.

KBF, at least I don't email while walking or driving.

William Kendall said...

At the very least, this addiction's not likely to end you up in the hospital coughing up a lung.

Petrea Burchard said...

William, I like your positive attitude.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Gads, no kidding about the phone calls "the horror" (followed by a series of exclamation marks). I prefer Face Book now that I understand it - despite the fact that they seem to move the furniture daily. There's a Hellen Keller joke in there somewhere.

Petrea Burchard said...

I haven't got it yet but I know the joke is in there. The whole internet is that way for me after about 1pm most days.

Bellis said...

At least you know how Twitter works. I've forgotten my password and can never post anything and I don't know how to read the posts of others the way you all seem to do.

Have you got email back now? I learned today that I can no longer use Facetime on my iPhone unless I update to the latest iPhone software. And I don't want to do that as I've heard it's much worse, and people have lost their calendars and contacts. Grrrr.

Petrea Burchard said...

If your iPhone is old, I don't recommend updating the operating system. Wait until you're ready to get a new phone. Of course that's what happened here, I got a new phone. I should have let the experts set up email for me.

Ann Erdman said...

Going door to door and bothering, er, talking to neighbors might do the trick. Eventually they'll suggest you go to rehab for that. Hey what's a good neighbor for?

Petrea Burchard said...

I think my neighbors like me, Ann, but I can change that!

José Mendonça said...

Petrea, you made me smile. I don't have an answer but enjoyed reading your post! Sorry I can't help you though... :-)

TheChieftess said...

I refuse to tweet...I check in on Facebook to stay connected to the kids, who by the way, don't do Facebook much anymore. I use email regularly and get frustrated when I email someone who doesn't check his or email but about once a month...
Egads!!! Communication has gotten so complicated these days...
If you want to see how "easy" it was way back when...check Wayne Worden's MeanderinginLotusLand.com!!!

Ms M said...

Updating operating systems on computers, on phones often leads to Trouble with a capital T. Good luck!

I have to say I'm hooked on using the internet; email, Twitter, Facebook, texting. I rarely use my phone for phone calls. Strange times we're in now....

Katie said...

I don't know if your email is still out, but if so I suggest sending postcards! (But I think postcards are fun to send anytime.) I doubt I could live without email, but I've definitely learned to adopt new communication methods to reach certain people (my sister via text, certain friends via chat on Scrabble or Words With Friends, etc.) And I still like talking on the phone with certain people. So old-fashioned!

Petrea Burchard said...

We love technology when it's working, don't we, Ms M? "Hooked" is the word.

Katie, my email is back, thank goodness. I remember in high school I used to be able to spend hours on the phone with a cute boy. (There's a sigh in there somewhere.)

Ann Erdman said...

I gave you a shout out on my blog post today about upcoming events -- your panel discussion at Distant Lands.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Ann! I feel honored to be included in your list. Your free event posts are fast becoming my favorites. (Though it will take some doing to knock your mystery history posts off the champion block.)

Margaret said...

Poor Petrea. Well have to find you an email patch.

Petrea Burchard said...

That's brilliant, Margaret. You could sell that.