August 13, 2010

"This Will Probably Rank High (If Not #1) On The List Of The Weirdest Emails You Have Ever Received"

["I worked in the Medical Records Department (HIM Specialist II - aka professional copy machine attendee - ha) during summer breaks from college.  One afternoon, a man came in to sign a release form.  We were busy during that lunch hour, but I remember trying my best to give him my undivided attention and to help him fill out the form.  He came back the next day with a package for me.  (Yes, this was weird behavior.)  My supervisor called hospital security, and they swept it away without a second glance in my direction.  I found out later that afternoon that he had written me a letter and made me a mixed tape. (Do those even exist anymore?)  He said something to the effect of "I really appreciated your kindness and help the other day.  Not often do I run into such simple kindness, and I made you this tape to express my gratitude."  My supervisor was pleased with me, security was freaked out, and I had to wear my badge turned upside down for the rest of the summer.  I never got to see the contents of the package or read the letter. 

The next morning, a hospital administrator called me into her office and asked how I felt about the event.  I told her I felt badly that we live in a world where somebody tries to express gratitude and kindness, and it comes off as dangerous and unstable.  I think it is important to tell a person when s/he has made an impact on you.  I told her that I understand his actions were extreme and improper, but where is the line drawn exactly? She told me that she agreed.  She told me that she, too, thought it is important to acknowledge when people made an impact on you.  She said she thought it is important to take that risk.  

I think of that man more often than expected, and I often wonder if he knows that he inadvertently had an impact on me, also. (Ha! Yeah right, I know.)  Over time, the conversation with the hospital administrator stands out more and the potential-absolute-craziness (the check-into-the-behavioral-health-unit-two-doors-down type of craziness) wears off.  I'm telling you this story, because it is where I am coming from when I write this email: I think it is important to tell a person when s/he has made an impact on you."]

And then I proceed to write an email to a guy who would never expect it coming about how he has no idea but he made an impact on my life.  And then I promptly hit the DELETE button, because I'm pretty sure I wrote THIS SAME MESSAGE to a boy I liked when I was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD (and one at fifteen, and one at sixteen, and some skewed version of this in college).  Only I wrote it MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO on a college-lined sheet of notebook paper and not in the draft folder of my gmail account.  I have some strange mixture of pride and humiliation that I am still determined to write emails after midnight with the keen desire to say, "HEY, YOU'RE IMPORTANT."  I still have this sneaking suspicion that the recipients needs to hear this.  Like I said - a strange mixture of pride and humiliation.  But I don't want to live in that world where an expression of kindness comes off as dangerous and unstable.  I don't know if rectifying that happens solo in "my own world" by sending a note of kindness, or if rectifying that happens in "the real world" by not sending a note of kindness.  So for now, I'm keeping that email in the trash, and I will consider writing a very short  "heeyyy, what's up?  hope all is going well in your world" email at 2pm tomorrow.  Just to be on the safe side.  I'll probably write "just a hello" in the subject line.  Honestly, I'll probably hit delete on that one too, because what I really want to say is "I THINK YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS AND I DEFINITELY NEED TO SAY THIS: YOU ARE IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE."

Don't worry, I'll go ahead and tag this post "teen angst" immediately...  But seriously - where's the line?


  1. Woah- that was such a lovely gesture from that man! Pity you never got the letter or the tape! :( I'd about die of curiousity.

    I don't know where the line is. I'm hilariously creepy/awkward.

    Erm. Seriously though- It always makes my day, year, whatever; to hear from people and realise that something I do so unconsciously, so unthinkingly has an impact on people. That I made something better, brighter, bigger- it's important to acknowledge that and have that be acknowledged!

    I don't know if it's because I was at peace school, but I try to tell people that they're important as much as I can. If I think it's creepy/may be perceived as such, I crack a joke about it. But. I say it.

    It's important to. I especially worry that if it isn't appreciated, if people don't see that the things they do are important... I worry that they'll stop doing them.

    I say you tell them. x

  2. Risha, your comment made my day!

    I think I'm going to. =)

    AND I'm going to make sure that I do it mid-afternoon one day, so I take full accountability for my actions (in my head more than anything - no more of the "I wrote it late at night" excuses). I think it is important to tell people when they are important to you. I think that in itself is enough of a reason to do it.

    ALSO, I would love to hear more about peace school.