The first time somebody added me to an email list without asking I thought it was just a one-off thing, a fluke. And then when it happened again I chalked it up to a couple of inconsiderate people taking advantage of their access to me.
But it has started to happen on a regular basis, by people I actually like, or... thought I liked. All of a sudden I'm scrolling furiously to the bottom of multiple emails a week unsubscribing from things I never signed up for.
If these crimes against e-mail etiquette (be there such a thing) could be considered misdemeanors, there is one that has stood out as a felony. Somebody I used to be connected to on LinkedIn took all of their contacts' emails and added them to a mailing list to, as they put it, "Save you the trouble of signing up for our mailing list."
A more creative string of swear words I could not have put together had I tried. I was so outraged and indignant.
I suppose I'm a little late to the game to be raging about the fact that there are no more boundaries, no more personal spaces, and nothing off limits. Everything is free reign for everybody and anybody.
But it drives me crazy.
And then I remembered a time when I took emails from my friends and added them to my mailing list. Was I really any better than the people who were doing the same thing? I'd like to believe so. But then again, I'd like to believe a lot of things. I rationalize my past actions in my mind by saying that I was younger and naive and didn't really understand.
So perhaps others don't realize how annoying it can be. Or maybe it isn't annoying to other people. Maybe I'm the only one. It wouldn't surprise me. Stupid things bother me all the time.
I am stuck between feeling pissed off at the people who add me to mailing lists without asking and being pissed off at myself for bringing about some kind of internet karma.
You know what they say, Karma's an e-bitch.
This bout of back and forth self-argument goes hand in hand with another question that has popped up in my mind lately;
What do strangers think when they overhear my conversations?
Living in New York you are subjected to dozens of intense conversations throughout the day that you are completely unable to avoid hearing every last detail of. It's just the nature of the city. There's a growing number of people and a fixed amount of space.
Very often I find myself with my friends rolling our eyes or making fun of the things we overhear.
Yea I mean it's like the second most expensive hotel in the world, it's like so beautiful.
Oh my god I can't even.
Yea everybody in that part of town is rich, but then when you get superrich you move to the next town over.
It drives me crazy. Sometimes I want to shake people and ask them why they sound like that.
But I've started to wonder, if those conversations are bothering me, surely my conversations must be bothering somebody else. I have a loud voice, a gregarious personality, and a penchant for the theatrical. There must be other individuals, possibly many MANY individuals who can't help but hear every detail of my own stories and think to themselves;
Jeez that guy is spoiled and/or obnoxious and/or ridiculous etc.
And that makes me frustrated. Self-awareness is something I'd like to believe I have. But can anybody really claim to be self-aware? Is that even possible?
It would be a flat-out lie if I said that I worked regularly on being more self-aware. I think about it a lot. But I don't think that counts.
The longer this essay goes on the more it feels to me like a whiney Sex and the City episode packed with first world problem shoe gazing self inflicted supposed mental duress.
However, I do think they are important questions. I don't think questioning one's self is a bad thing. Questioning one's self to the point of anxiety, well, yes, that's useless.
I had a therapist who once told me "analysis is paralysis." And I believe in a certain way she is and was right. But I also like the philosopher's statement that says "The unexamined life isn't worth living."
Because for me, life is context. Life is the interplay between what we know and what we don't. Life is growth and excitement and frustration and all of that in between stuff we don't have names for, or haven't learned yet.
At least, what has felt like a fulfilling life so far has involved those things for me.
So whenever I find myself being constantly frustrated by something's rapid and frequent occurrence I am left with two options; either decide it's so unbearable that something more significant must be done, OR, decide that it's on me to change how I behave, how I view a certain thing, and most specifically, how I react to it.
When I took my first improv class a couple of years ago my teacher was talking to us about the 2-person scenes we would be doing and he said this.
The bad news is you're only responsible for 50 percent of the scene. The good news is, you're still responsible for 50 percent of the scene.
Life is half our actions, and half our reactions. And I believe I am not the first to forget that I have full control over both.