It’s all gone. Disappeared into the evil black hole of cyberspace where “data” may enter but never leave. Last week, my email “went down,” and every single email I have ever had for 20 years disappeared. When I called my service provider (and waited for an hour on the phone) the representative told me that there was a merging that didn’t go real well and my carrier has shut down and all the emails are gone. Forever. “Forever” is a pretty strong term. It can sometimes connotate positive emotions, as in, “I will love you forever.” Or, it is a harsh word like a hammer smashing your reality, as in, “Your emails are gone forever.”
The lady did point out that I was sent an email in June describing the “merger,” but it “went wrong.” Stunned, I asked with a feeble voice, “How can I get my emails back?” The lady chuckled and said, “You can’t. Now you have to go forward.” Ever hate those two little words: “go forward”? What if I liked where I was? Hey, I was wrapped in the secure knowledge that my entire contact list, conversations, business dealings, family talks and history were contained in my email bank. Now it has evaporated and I need to “go forward”? Why do people say such nonsense to folks who have lost loved ones, jobs, money or health? Or emails? I want to go back! Back to where the world made sense! At least I still had my domain.
My friend was loading her groceries into the back of her SUV, and her purse was sitting in the baby seat portion of the shopping cart. Suddenly a truck stopped next to her, a guy jumped out and grabbed her purse and sped off. In her purse was her cellphone, wallet, house keys, car key—all the things we never want to lose. Her shock turned to despair when she realized that all the photos of trips, family and grandkids were gone. After the police arrived, the store manager asked her to maybe call a neighbor to come get her, but she couldn’t recall his number. That’s when the tears flowed, as it sunk in that she had many people to call but no numbers stored in her brain!
The helpful police officer ended up driving her home, since she had no car key. Then he had to break into her house because she had no house key. And without a cell phone and no landline, she was sitting alone contemplating how a 2-by-5-inch device stored all her life stories and ways to connect with her friends, clients and family. Moving forward? A steep mountain to climb.
I have asked various high-tech professionals where “vanished” emails go. Mostly, there is no clear answer. One person suggested I contact the FBI, since they seem to have the “tools” to retrieve anything and everything you have ever done. Hmmm, if you are out there, “special agent,” I am innocent of crimes but appreciative of any help. Technology? Wonderful. Until it’s not.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.