So last month I ended the relationship. But like all failed modern romances, it's not a complete break. I've stopped sending outgoing mail from Hotmail and have rigged my Gmail account to siphon up all the e-mail that's still straggling in. Except for checking the junk folder of my Hotmail once a week, it's over.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that Gmail makes me feel younger and about 20 pounds lighter. But I've been around the block enough times to know that this relationship won't last forever. Earlier this year, Gmail expressed its neediness by pushing its Buzz feature on me without asking for my permission first. Every now and then, if I accidentally click myself from "invisible" to "visible," I start receiving unwanted Google Chat messages from people I've e-mailed once or twice.
I can see myself falling into old patterns, shouting at Gmail that I'm just too old to deal with the hassle. Maybe I just don't want another relationship. Can't my e-mail program just be my roommate?
Addendum, Dec. 2: Hotmail is taking my "Dear Jane" note well. She'll be OK. Anybody with "Hot" in their name isn't going to have trouble on the rebound.
Just leave me alone. Don't send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and don't eavesdrop on my Twitter feed. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)
Track my errors: This hand-built RSS feed will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For e-mail notification of errors in this specific column, type the word Hotmail in the subject head of an e-mail message, and send it to email@example.com.