Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Emails About Not Getting Emails Are the Worst Emails

Sarah Miller:

So, already feeling very out of sorts, let’s recall, I requested help from the university’s enrollment/grade/whateverthefuck portal help staff, and got into “line” behind 20 people. It did keep updating, you’re 16th, you’re 11th, you’re 6th! This was the best part of my day by far. I like to think I occupied each place in line with proper reverence.

My turn came. I explained the problem. The help guy said he would send me an email. And then he sent an email, to my email, the only email I ever use, the email that never doesn’t get emails, ever. I have no reason to disbelieve this. And I didn’t get it. He sent another one, I didn’t get it. He said I would have to call the university and talk to them about why I couldn’t get emails from the enrollment/grade/whateverthefuck portal. As soon as our chat ended, I got two emails from the help desk of the enrollment/grade/whateverthefuck portal I couldn’t get emails from, one saying, sorry you can’t get emails, we did everything we could, and the other a transcript of the conversation about how I couldn’t get emails. Just in case you’re not grasping this: I got two emails from the place I couldn’t get one email from about not getting that email.

There never feels like an explanation for these things. This piece spoke to me — much like Miller, many of the technical errors I encounter every day are found just after I have done all of the right things, clicked all of the right buttons, and said the exact right incantation. And then, some cheerful error message telling me to try again now, later, or — even worse — nothing at all. I read that circumstance as a good time to step away and peel an orange.