It seems that more and more, I run into multiplicity. I send an email and it goes through to the inbox all right but it turns out that over time, that person has begun using a different email address or several others. I make a phone call and it turns out that person now has another phone number or several others and pays more attention to the others than to the one I called.
The email address and the phone number are not wrong. There is just a diminished probability that the message will be read or the phone answered or checked for stored messages. Then there is the matter of time. Will the email be read before 2018? Sure, things may happen eventually but when? At some point, it will be too late. The message will be out of date, no longer correct, inapplicable.
So, increasingly, if I write or call and fail to get any response, I try again. Three or four failures in a row will be pretty convincing that either I am way off base with that address or number or something else is happening. His secretary has been instructed to ignore messages from me. I am overstraining our friendship. He is in the hospital.
I read in Eric Barker's post this morning that the average inter-office email is answered within 6 seconds of being sent. But that is inter-office. More and more of my friends are retired. They don't have an office and they roam. Out in the wilderness of Montana or Wyoming, there is NO signal. It is getting to be spring. Maybe that guy is out there hunting or camping or hiking. Maybe he is taking that long-dreamed-about trip around the world. Maybe he just took up meditation and unplugged for better living.
As Barker mentioned this morning, maybe he is on Facebook. Well, of course he is on Facebook: he has children and grandchildren. When I send him a message asking how he is, my request is not going to compare with the need to contact his daughter about his granddaughter's confirmation, graduation, engagement, marriage, new job, pregnancy, etc. After Facebook, he has to check Twitter to see what his followers are up to. Instagram needs his attention. Barker points out that all that checking and responding takes time. After Instagram, better look to see what has come in on email and yes, another check of Facebook wouldn't hurt.
Multiple channels take multiple minutes. I can easily get moved to the Later pile.