When your most vital email gets drafted

I found it in my drafts box. I sent it to her, just to show I wasn't lying.

The dangers of the drafts box also lurk in the smartphone.

Just this week, a friend mentioned an email she'd sent, via phone, about our dinner engagement. I swore I'd never gotten it. She discovered it in some smartphone netherworld, accompanied by the word "Failed."

The email junk box (aka the junk folder or spam folder) is another source of grudges fermented in the ether.

Whenever I remember to check my junk mail, I always discover something, from a friend or reader, that makes me feel guilty.

I've learned that the word "Congratulations" can trigger the Tribune's spam filter, which is useful if the message comes from a Nigerian prince who wants you to send him a check, but not useful if the note is a nice one from someone you'd like to acknowledge.

Every so-called advance in communication creates new failures to communicate. Witness Facebook.

"So there's your Facebook Message inbox," reports a colleague, "and then there's this other, little-noticed tab called 'other.' It's where spam messages and messages from people you are not Facebook friends with go."

Like most Facebook users, he was unaware of it for a long time. When he finally checked it, he discovered messages that he would have answered if he'd known they were there. The people he ignored probably felt as disgruntled as Hope did by Buster's failure to respond to a message he never got.

As for Hope and Buster, it's too late for them. But their star-crossed fate offers lessons for the rest of us: Check your drafts box. And your junk mail box. And your "other" box on Facebook.

Or ignore it all. That's a valid choice too. Just be prepared to live with the consequences.

mschmich@tribune.com

CHICAGO

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