The Loh Life

Business Dress, Part One: Spamalot

Sandra Tsing Loh struggles with unwanted email.

Generally, I function in two modes: working at home on a laptop, and driving my children all over town.  Accessories to these activities typically - and regrettably - include a travel coffee mug, Crocs, and a fanny pack.  There are also these black fleece running pants - Which I'm afraid may have attached themselves to me via one of my many trips to Costco - Which have zippers on the outside of the ankles.  This is to suggest running, although no running is happening.

When would that happen?  Apparently at 5:30 a.m.  That's when today's fast-moving business people get up.  I read about them in the New York Times, which occasionally flutters across the bed in which I'm sitting and typing.  The other day, I saw a piece about a pair of famous clothing designers who begin each day at 5:30 a.m. with an hour of spinning.  They then hurtle into their manic workday which, with fittings and galas, can last until 11.  Man!  When I have that much to do, the first thing to go out the window is exercise.  But, of course, if I were the sort of person with the discipline to get up at 5:30 in the morning to spin every day, I would probably be getting a lot more done.

Over my second cup of coffee, I read about a 27-year-old Silicon Valley billionaire who mesmerizes his million-and-a-half followers by tweeting directly to them 75 times a day.  75!  While spinning!  I must spend an hour a day just hitting "unsubscribe" to try to clear my inbox.  Everyday the Spam comes, sometimes 20 an hour.  It's ridiculous.  I'm being pelted with ads for Singles Over 50, plus size fashions, Viagra, auto insurance, Dr. Oz - ?  "Slim Spray as seen on Shark Tank" alone sends me 10 emails a day.  I get Spam in English, Spanish, and Chinese.  That's right.  I get spam in Chinese.  And, try as I might, I can NOT find the Chinese unsubscribe button.

And, even when there IS an "unsubscribe" button in English?  As often as not, amazingly, you have to type those wavy letters into the box to prove you're a real person!  Why the burden of proof of being a real person is on me I have no idea.  Is there some rogue robotic virus out there that is maliciously unsubscribing people from their beloved Viagra ads?

And, this makes me wonder: do other people have interns who get rid of their Spam for them?  So they're free to brainstorm and spin and tweet?  And to create the Slim Spray Spam that's coming at me?  Either you're upriver or downriver, and I need to get out!

Next week: Pantyhosed.


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