I’ve been migrating my mail to Google Apps, and watching mail download into the new account is amazing.
I started using Gmail in September 2005 (apparently!) and seeing Google drop sheaves of old mail into my new inbox is like watching my life fall past—or having a scrubber bar. There’s 2005. There’s something new, something now. Hey, there’s 2005 again. Hop forward, hop back, like watching a video. I can go anywhere I want in this incredibly complex linear record: Remember this conversation. Remember that blog entry. Remember that time you fought with so-and-so over something stupid. Remember the vow you made and the rules you set and the people you talked to every day. The brilliant realization that though some of your hardware is on the way out, in some cases in pieces, it was purchased three years ago or more—see, there’s the receipt. There are all your Amazon purchase confirmations. Every comment you ever received on a LiveJournal entry, ever. Every kooky Craigslist inquiry you ever made.
It’s all right there.
To a certain extent, I’m relieved to be moving it all to a new account—something I’m paying for, instead of relying on Google’s good will and the value of my information to their data mining and advertising ventures. Maybe now it will last longer. It’s so nice to have it all there, even if I never look at it. It’s nice to be reminded of something concrete, especially when I don’t usually remember these things—when something happened, who it happened with, what we said about it, how I felt. I don’t remember any of that. Until I see the email.
And then, wow, my life looks so interesting.
Like a little ant hill.
With a scrubber bar.