The Bird of Paradise during its courtship dance pirouettes with its upper body puffed out to show how big its pecks can be. It turns itself into a giant face to prove it can frighten enemies it will need to protect a potential mate from,

the same way I make a snarling grunting noise when I hear that weekend work email notification dinging its drunken dong. Liken to an invisible nanotech collar made from an alien civilization, or like the kind of leash some temper-spiking divorcee with hell to pay yanks up on to get her feelings to stand up straight, stick their furry rumps in the air and puff their chest out, when to be strong all she need do is let herself be afraid and cry, it’s become another marketing tool for the plutocratic few.

Hiding in the bushes of my online address for months to deliver an aptly timed slogan under the cover of a flattery that has about as much to do with me as a Brillo pad with no Brillo on it, one comes trouncing up the front steps of my patience and begins pounding on my peace of mind until a Pavlovian maze-like moment starts to close in on itself like the perfect lake rental.

Like the once vacuum cleaner salesman who’d stake out your routines in order to see when the best time to pitch is, work email will show up unannounced wearing stinky polyester pants and a clip-on tie just as you’re about to go to bed. It knows you must turn out the hall light by the front door first.

The screamer in the backseat during a long trip to see those estranged relatives, it’ll keep wearing you out until, to stop the incessant noise, you’ll pull your time over to either yell at it or delete it outright with a whip of table-clearing, fingertip across the screen. It knows both options are likely to reduce your anxiety, but at the cost of some willing to pay unforeseen consequence.

In fact, that’s how I’ve missed out on a few good-time parties, and on at least one opportunity to get my name out there. Sadly, because of my work-email chord-cutting, gifts went unseen, and became junk mail without my knowing it. It smells like a litter box.