Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 06.25.16
Stanstead, Quebec


E-mail anxiety

It wasn't necessarily being served in English that sealed the deal but it didn't hurt. Deb and I had been considering changing our phone and Internet provider for some time, so when a representative from a company we'll call Cabletron phoned out of the blue on Saturday, I didn't react the way I normally do when a telemarketer calls:

"No. No thanks. Six months free? Nope. Nope. Go away. Nope. Dancing antelopes? Still no. Goodbye."

The Cabletron woman was polite, clear, spoke English, and most of all laughed at my jokes. This is why customer service people should always call me in English: so they can delight in my wonderful, side-splitting, tech-related banter.

She offered us a great deal, which I accepted, breaking my own rule of never taking a deal without first seeing it on paper and never taking a deal on paper without first dithering about it for weeks.

"We'll take care of everything," the lovely-accented Cabeltron woman told me.

Sure enough, within hours, I had an e-mail from my current provider (let's call it Smell) saying it was not too late to explore other options, although I have to wonder where those options were when my children were sucking all the juice out of our Internet account, and the company's only solution to me was, "You should purchase more bandwidth."

The Smell e-mail provided me with an exclusive phone number to call for further begging. This was all in French, by the way, even though every time I log onto my Smell account I do so in English. Shouldn't they know that? If you can't count on your own phone company to invade your privacy, who can you count on?

But this wasn't about language, honestly.

I ignored the e-mail. The next day, I got another phone call. "Est-ce que je peux parler à Rose Murray?"

It was Smell, trying to convince me to come back, calling me Rose. Once again, I sincerely must reiterate, this really didn't have anything to do with language, even though I am clearly English, and the Smell rep was difficult to understand and got irritated when she had to repeat herself, and the line quality was poor, and there were no opportunities for witticisms, and, seriously, make more of an effort before your customers abandon ship, Smell!

So maybe it's a little about language. But mostly my need to be pandered to.

But none of this is the point.

The point is I now have to come up with a new e-mail address, which is a lot of pressure. I mentioned this to Deb, and she said, "Pick whatever you want." Clearly, she doesn't understand the serious nature of this decision. Clearly, one of us doesn't have the right attitude towards e-mail and the need to obsessively check it all day long. Doesn't she realize that this is our opportunity to become ""?

"You want something that's going to make it easy for people to find you," she suggested. What, like "ross_and_deb@"? How boring. And probably already taken. "ross_and_deb_majestic@" on the other hand...

But then I read somewhere that spouses shouldn't share e-mail accounts because it looks unprofessional. Well, we've been amateur spousing for years and have yet to graduate to the professional spousing circuit, so I think we'll be okay.

Nonetheless, maybe we want something that speaks to the household and its inhabitants. Something like "" comes to mind. Or "dont_look_under_the_seat_cushions@" Or how about "Leftover_Capital_of_Canada@"? "Home-is-where-the-wine-is. -at-" might do the trick.

What about something that reflects society's attitude towards e-mail, once the most amazing of technologies, now reviled as deliverer of spam and tedious workplace discussions? I like "may_not_reply_nothing_personal@"

An e-mail handle like "not-a-terrorist@" might make life interesting.

Given all my ranting about the importance of being served in English just before Quebec's nationalist holiday, maybe I should go with "insensitive.anglo@" or more accurately "".

Or could I simply go with "'s.still.married@"

You know what? Just text me. Any language will do.