I hesitated for a long time about whether to make this public or not. After all, it’s no way to treat someone you’ve been with since the late 90s. But when that someone screws you over too many times, it’s time to let it all out. If nothing else, maybe I can help others who are in the same position. So, I’m putting it on Twitter. I can only hope the message gets through. Here goes…
We’re breaking up. Don’t act so surprised – this has been coming for a long time. After all, I’ve been seeing Gmail behind your back for six months now and we want to move in together. That means it’s over between you and me. I mean, I’ll visit from time to time but it can never be exclusive like it used to be.
We’ve just been going in such different directions. I’ve been going in the direction of wanting to be able to reply to e-mails on my phone – you’ve been going in the direction of putting ads at the top of my inbox that look tantalisingly like unread e-mails. Every time I log on and count aloud to 30 while my inbox loads, I get the brief thrill of thinking that someone out there wants to talk to me, wants to connect with me. But as Morrissey says, it’s another false alarm, usually sponsored by Trivago. If I’d been wanting an excuse to leave, you gave me one.
But really, your neediness and insecurity has been laying the foundations for years now – the articles on Yahoo! “News” designed to undermine my faith in Facebook only undermined my faith in you. You need to work on your self-esteem issues. If you just loved yourself just a little bit more, you wouldn’t need to imitate Gmail – you can be your own person! That’s part of the reason I’m moving on – why be with a pale imitation of Gmail when you can be with the real thing? Who would choose Gareth Malone over David Tennant? Except Gareth Malone’s wife maybe.
Sorry, I got really distracted there by thinking about David Tennant. What was I saying? I guess it’s that I can’t stay with you out of nostalgia much longer. I sometimes long for the cutesy interface of the 90s but I’m not a teenager anymore. I need an e-mail account that actually lets me send and receive e-mails and that seems way out of your remit. My friends have mocked me for being with such a relic and I’ve defended you all these years but no more. And it really has been a long time. My boyfriend and I set up our first joint account in 1998, because it never occured to us that we would one day need to e-mail each other. These were frontier times, you have to understand. We were roasting buffalo over the fire as we sat in that IT suite, playing with a Teletubby doll and sending our friends Radiohead guitar tabs. Back in those days, you had quite a harsh mail storage limit so we eventually opened a new account because that was easier than going back through the inbox and actually deleting stuff. Those guitar tabs were some huge attachments.
One by one, my friends drifted away from you but I stayed loyal. I clicked “no” to downloading Yahoo! Mail Beta more times than I can count, and at all times resisted having an account that looked like outlook. That, to me, is a little too much like mixing work and pleasure. An Outlook-like Yahoo! account is like the mullet of e-mail. It doesn’t know whether it’s arranging board meetings or wild parties. And so began the Jekyll and Hyde years, where my inbox would flip between classic and beta with gay abandon. But did you ever ask me whether I wanted to be abandoned so gaily? It was always like a special treat when I logged in to see my classic inbox but these treats became rarer. Like visits from an old friend, I enjoyed them when they happened but accepted that they were dwindling. Eventually, it settled down into the Gmail-parody I see today, with my messages grouped into conversations. Do I want my messages in conversations which blur the lines between talking about someone and talking to them? That’s a big risk for a loose-tongued loose cannon like me.
Then came the phone thing. I said no, I didn’t want to download your app. Nathan had it and it was rubbish so I wasn’t prepared to waste any of my precious phone storage-space on it, just to be told every 5 seconds that Dominos had another alluring pizza offer for me. Or, alternatively, to never be told that I had any e-mails. Ever. So, I carried on using it on the Internet app on my phone, till that stopped working and then used it on the Chrome app for a few more months, limping on until the day came where I could neither receive new e-mails nor send them. At that point, even you have to admit that an e-mail account isn’t serving its purpose.
So, this is it. I’m putting an auto-responder on, linking to this blog post. We’re over. It’s not me, it’s you.