How many of me are there?

There are aspects of email, and of gmail in particular, that I'm not enamored of. Despite rather effective filters junk mail in its various forms still succeeds in finding its way to my inbox, though I admit that this is far from being the scourge it once was. Nine years ago I noted that I collect classic Nigerian scam emails, and a review of my mail notes that I've received (and saved) 55 variants of these. But the last one I've saved is from four and a half years ago which suggests that since then gmail's spam filters have done a good job of keeping those from reaching my inbox. I can't really say that I miss receiving these, but I didn't really mind taking the two minutes to read them when they'd arrive, perhaps taking a couple more minutes to compare the newest ones to older versions and watch they're evolution over time.

But perhaps the most frustrating aspect of my gmail, and perhaps of any mail though I suppose that this is a result of gmail's ubiquity, may be something very few people encounter - and I'm one of the "lucky" ones. Email addresses are, by definition, distinct. Only one person can have a specific address. It seems, however, that quite a number of people think that their gmail address is mine. Via these other "mes" I'm subscribed to a few newsletters that arrive weekly, and even daily to my inbox. I have no problem disregarding these and moving them to my trash, but I've also received personal notices. Facebook is continually reminding "me" that if I want to activate my account I have to set a password - which of course I'm not about to do because it's not my account. I'd happily let this other person (who thinks that my email is his) know about this problem but for rather obvious reasons I can't send him mail. I've received flight information (for instance earlier this month my calendar listed a flight to San Francisco [from Newark] which I rather obviously missed) and confirmations of purchases, and more. In two cases when I received mail that I could clearly reply to (or in the preferable case, was directed to the same person [me] at two addresses) I've made contact and cleared up the situation. In a number of others I've simply felt guilty for not being able to solve the problem - including one response to a shidduch proposal which sadly apparently left one young woman wondering why she never received a reply. Last month it seems that somebody didn't get home with the proper Shabbat purchases, having forwarded a Google Keep note to my address:


I would have been happy to help out, but there was little chance of my being able to make a home delivery in time for Shabbat.

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