I've stacked up 14,279 emails in my Gmail inbox since I joined in Summer '04. Most of them are pretty mundane. Forgettable. But the drafts folder? A haunting archive of unsent feelings, deflated wishes, and sadness. Our email's id.
It happens without realizing. We start something, and then stop. And then Google saves it forever. Maybe we got distracted. Maybe we got discouraged. Maybe we just decided to sit on it for a while. But the draft sits there, festering. Fermenting. You'll never see it unless you decide to. And when you do, you're sucked back to that day—say, May 14th, 2009, when I wrote an email saying goodbye to my college friends for the summer. So sappy, right? But also sort of sad, because they never read it:
I'm doing this in no particular order. Some of you may receive more words than others, but I promise that this in no way corresponds to how much I care for you (though I do like some of you drastically more or less than others!)
I went on to say something a little sweet and a little mean about each of them, and then just stopped mid-sentence. And the sentiments have been frozen in suspended animation for over two years. I don't even regularly talk to some of them anymore.
Another draft contains a letter I was supposed to mail out to my landlord, on behalf of all my housemates, to complain about a horrible mold problem. I was too nervous to send it, and our house filled up with mold.
And I'm not alone—below are a few Gmail raisins in the sun from the rest of the sad Giz crew's closets. These messages, brief as they are, tell us a lot about what we wanted to say years ago—but didn't. Our outbox is what we shout to the world. Our drafts folder is what we wished we had. A Hellenic krater of self-doubt and reluctance. The first draft of our personal histories. Weird fragments of shit that used to matter.
I'm pretty busy here at work so I don'
July 20th I should definitely be around.
What recording of the South African national anthem is played at the beginning of each show?
And perhaps most heartbreaking,
I'm glad I've gotten the chance to know you too, XXXXXX. It's a frustration that the situation isn't different, bu
We cared—and then we didn't. And maybe we'll never know why. Or maybe today is the day to send them all.