E-mail addresses and how not to use them

Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Naw, I'll stick to explaining.

So I have an email address that I don't technically use anymore (o'kay a lot of them) but that is still tied to things that I do use. This address is hosted through Gmail and the username is my old name. What's my old name you ask? Not important. I know, my parents were weird. That's not what this is about, though.

Somewhere around the late 00s, I started getting emails that seemed to be from real people and intended for a real person, just not me. A bunch of elementary school newsletters, court documents, home sale documents, bank statements, and divorce papers. I finally manage to figure out the actual email address of the person these things were meant for. Reaching out to them to let them know I've been receiving all of these things did mostly stop that from happening. Seems they were just forgetting that their email address username was FirstNameMiddleInitialLastName and frequently left out the middle initial part. This oversight instantly turned their email address into mine.

Neat. Sure I got a BUNCH of very personal and private info about this other person but problem solved, end of story. Right? Well no, because that would be boring, and if that's all this post was about I would have given you a lot more of the details. No, that was just the first of many.

Next was someone in a different country that set up an internet-connected security camera to send an email every time there was motion near the structure where they stored their ATVs that included a video clip of the action. I tried to make these emails stop but they contained no unsubscribe method. Eventually just had to blackhole all emails coming from that service and never buy their hardware. Not a huge loss but still annoying.

After that were the emails from that same country containing service invoices from a Volkswagon dealership. That was easy enough to deal with. Just emailed the service department, explained that their customer had given them someone else's email address and never heard from them again.

So back to my own country, halfway across it, I get emails from another car dealership service department. Same deal. Took longer to get the emails to stop. About a year. But did finally make contact with a human who was very apologetic and again the problem went away.

This continues a few more times, primarily from US-based businesses and from a few individuals. I can mostly pin each of these emails as having been intended for one of three different people in the US and one or two in Canada. Years go by, and aside from the occasional uptick in spam and the odd purchase invoice from a furniture store, it's pretty quiet.

Then, years later, I start getting emails from Ionos about a domain expiring. I know this can't be for me as I don't use Ionos for domain registration or anything else. I had never even heard of them before getting the emails. Initially, I just deleted them as they came in but the volume increased. Account updates, policy changes, etc. I got tired of seeing them and I didn't want to blackhole everything from them and forget about it as I might end up needing to get emails from them someday for some reason that wasn't occurring to me just then. So I send an email to their support department letting them know that I was not their customer and that their customer had likely given them the wrong email address. What I get back from Ionos support was an email that very matter-of-factly stated that I was, indeed, their customer and that I owed them money.

So that didn't sit too well with me. One might say I was a bit annoyed. This is when I go very against my nature and make a phone call. I don't hate making phone calls but I do hate making phone calls to people I don't know. This was a whole company full of people I don't know and that had demonstrated that reading comprehension was not a high priority in their hiring process. Apprehension was high but that call was made nonetheless.

The first person I speak to is clearly a front-line rep, of which I have been one, and was not prepared for the story I had to tell. It took a few times of explaining the issue for it to sink in that I was not their customer but that my email address was being used by their customer. So once the rep grasped the situation and that it was resulting in me receiving communications from them intended for someone else I was transferred to someone in their security department.

The security department rep didn't have as hard of a time understanding the problem. Likely hears all kinds of weird stuff. This person tells me that they have other means to contact their customer and that they will reach out to the customer by those means. They thank me for letting them know about the issue and we part ways. I, foolishly, assume this is the end of it as it seemed that my initial contact was just one person failing to understand what they were being told. So I was a little taken aback when I later find an email from Ionos stating that a credit had been applied to "my account" and that there was an attached PDF containing the details of this credit. A PDF which included, among other things, the street address of the customer.

So Ionos had gone from insisting that I owned them money, to issuing their customer an account credit and in the process sending me their customer's personal information. All because they failed to confirm their customer's email address when the account was created and failed to remove the email address from the account when they were told that it was not correct.

Now here we are, almost a year later, and I receive yet another email from Ionos. Seems there was some change in how taxes will be applied, and they are letting all of their customers know. Of course, I am not their customer, but telling them that doesn't seem to make any difference. Getting this email brings back all of the frustration from the first encounter, so I send another email advising that I am still not their customer, have never been their customer, and that the complete incompetence displayed shows that I should never be their customer.

I bet you can guess how well that worked, can't you?

This is what I get back in response:

Thank you for contacting us.

I apologize for inconvenience and confusion this issue have caused.

Our record shows that last May 5, 2019, you signed up for a domain contract to register the domain, [DOMAIN REDACTED]. The domain expired last May 2020.This does not automatically cancel the domain contract. Please note that we did not charge you since the contract is empty.

I understand that you do not want to keep the empty contract so I have processed its cancellation. You will receive an email confirmation about the cancellation in a separate email.

If you still need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone at 1-484-254-5555 (US), 1-844-296-2059 (Canada), +1 (816) 621-4796 (International) or simply reply to this email. Alternatively, you can schedule a call back using the link below:


Yeah, it's "Let's Ignore You Part 2 - Electric Boogaloo". This also did not go over very well. Not at all. I might have responded with a lot of swearing. I might also have tweeted about my opinion that doing business with Ionos would be ill-advised unless one was o'kay with having their personal information sent to third parties who were trying to stop them from doing just that.

The next day I get a tweet from Ionos customer support apologizing for "the confusion" and stating that they don't know what I mean but also stating that the company doesn't send personal information out. A bold claim from someone that just said they don't know what I mean. Even bolder since that is exactly what had happened in June of last year.

We go back and forth; them trying to get me to move this into DMs, and me very much not being willing to do that. Ionos' chance to address this without public disclosure was a year ago. We were well past that now. I did, though, give them enough information to locate the customer account and I did later get another email advising that the account would be closed due to using fraudulent contact data. I think the wording was a little strong. It's most likely that this person failed to type their own email address correctly, and Ionos failed to perform the most basic of checks to make sure that the customer was reachable by this address. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Do I have any faith that this is actually over? None whatsoever. Do I expect to keep getting emails from Ionos? Absolutely. Will I do anything further if it happens? Just blackhole all emails from them, as there's no way I will ever do business with them at any point, ever.

To the social media rep that I was in communication with, I've done customer support before and understand the situation you found yourself in. I do not envy it. You had to do what you were doing. I respect that. I had to make sure that this was not kept a private matter.

All of this could have been avoided if Ionos had included email reachability checks in their signup process. Maybe this caught the attention of someone in the company that can make sure that something is added to future versions of their product. Again, I'm not holding my breath.

Shoes just keep dropping

Some days are easier than others, some days I don't even have to think about it. On other days the other shoe drops and just keeps dropping.

Of course there was a time in my life when I didn't have to brace myself, with each new person I met, for that inevitable moment when they would say or do something that would show that they couldn't be trusted. Display that they did not see me or people like me as part of their tribe, or even see me as a person at all. At least that's what I tell myself when I think back on my childhood, as there are large chunks of it of which I have no memory. It has to be the case, though, as I didn't always know I wasn't straight, or cis, or monogamous.

There was a point in my life where I lived and worked in the queer-Mecca of my area. So long as I didn't venture outside of that area, and I rarely did, I didn't have to worry about or even think about what aspects of myself I presented, how, and to whom. Almost everyone I interacted with was open-minded and accepting of other people just as they are. Or at the very least they put on a good show. Those that weren't accepting were so outnumbered that even if you could see their disapproval on their face they wouldn't dare say anything.

Don't misunderstand, where I live now isn't too bad or maybe it's just that everyone is too worried about their problems to spend time bothering anyone else. Where I work, on the other hand, is a totally different story. I'll just say that the business I work in is stereotyped as one that would attract “good ol' boys” both as customers and employees. Obviously, not everyone I work with is an issue, nor is every customer. Though that's the thing about waiting for the other shoe to drop, isn't it? You don't know until you know. And not a week goes by that I don't get to learn that someone else isn't safe.

There is very little about myself that I'm out about at work. I don't hide that I'm an atheist; I have a flying spaghetti monster badge on my car's trunk lid as well as both an "Athiest Inside" and an A in a circle vinyl decal on the back window. I know at least one of my co-workers is an atheist. She is also one of the very few people at work that I'm out to about anything else. The other two are the HR person and, as far as I know, the only Pagan there.

Being pansexual and genderfluid are things I keep very close to the vest. Most work days fail to pass without me having to listen to one or more people go on about their homophobic or transphobic ideas and stories. I spend each day knowing that people who treat me as one of their own actually hate me, find me disgusting, think of me as not a person, etc; or would if they knew to. I hear how they speak about me without knowing it. How they speak about my friends, my partner, and people I care about, but just don't know it. They call me friend, buddy, pal. Say they appreciate what I do for them. All the while making it very clear that I don't measure up to what it means to be human to them.

What I'm Not

Too often people are defined, and confined, by what they are, to themselves, and to others This seems to help push us deeper into our little holes. It’s hard to be who you really are when the definitions keep getting in the way.

Perhaps a better way to define ourselves, letting other people get a feel for who we are before they get to know us, and helping ourselves visualize who we’re becoming, would be to define ourselves by what we’re not.

To that end, and to perhaps clear up some long-held misconceptions, I present a list of what I’m not. As with all things, these are relevant within the framework of my ideas/beliefs, your mileage may vary.

I am not …

cisgender, a crossdresser, or a drag queen. I don’t put on “women’s clothes” for any different reason than I put on clothes “for men”. I don’t seek sexual gratification from it, nor to perform. I’m not a man or a woman, I don’t live at either of the poles. My gender is not binary, nor is it static. I appreciate it if you find any of my shades of expression attractive but never mistake that I express as I do for anyone other than myself.

I am not …

heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. I do not place restrictions on whom I love; things like what’s between someone’s legs, or what department they buy their clothes from mean nothing to me. It’s not a phase, I’m not experimenting, and I’m not going to “grow out of it”. I can’t choose to be attracted to whom I am any more than anyone else can. Seeing me on the arm of a man doesn’t mean I’ve accepted I’m gay any more than seeing me on the arm of a woman means I’ve accepted I’m straight (or vice versa, depending on how I’m expressing at that moment).

I am not …

Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist, Druid, or Thelemite. I do not worship “the devil”, Satan, Lucifer, or any incarnation, or embodiment of evil.

I am not …

Monogamous, a swinger, cheating, or selfish. I don’t believe that love is a finite resource. Loving one person does not mean I have to stop loving another. I do not own my partners, nor do they own me. I don’t believe any one person can satisfy all the needs of another, nor would I ever expect them to. I don’t need more than one lover, but I don’t even need one. I want to share my time, and myself with anyone worthy of me, and in turn share in the time, and person of those I’m worthy of.

I am not …

a looser, boring, anti-social, or trying to isolate myself from the world. I don’t base my interests on trending topics, or what shows up in a “most popular” list. My taste in music will not be well represented by what you can pick up over the air, and video did, in fact, kill the radio star. My favorite TV shows have legions of fans who take every chance they can get to dress up as their favorite characters... and have all been canceled. I am not likely to be found watching sports, any sports, most likely ever... and should I ever be, it will not be that of a misnamed oblong ball. I do not see learning as a means to an end, but itself an end worthy of obtaining for no reason other than the joy of it. I was not popular in school, well except for with all the others who weren’t popular right along with me. Think about that for a moment.

I am not …

what you think I am, nor am I ever likely to be. Truth be told I probably don’t even want to be. Not that there’s anything wrong with what you think I am, it’s just not me.

I am none of those things, but I am so much more than any list of things I could tell you I am. For they are just words, and I am fluid, I change with time in ways you will never be able to predict. Love me, or hate me, but do so for what I am not, for what I am will be different tomorrow. If you’re lucky I’ll let you come along for the ride.

Unintentionally in the closet

So I went to Out in the Park yesterday, a local gay pride celebration. I've been before, though usually with my sister. I've never felt out of place there before, well before now.

This time I wasn't there with my sister, she was off visiting an ex-girlfriend. This time I was there with my girlfriend. Most of the time things were fine, we were with her daughter and her daughter's girlfriend, and my most awesome friend Stephanie.

As my girlfriend and I were leaving, though, I could feel the thoughts of the people we passed. "Look at the straight couple hanging out with us." My girlfriend and I are both pansexual, so the feeling I was getting was certainly unwarranted. Later I asked her about it and she said she was getting the same feeling as I was.

I've finally reached a point where I've decided to be totally open with people about my sexuality and now because I've found joy in the company of a woman I'm made to feel out of place within my own community. It's bad enough dealing with people who should be supportive telling me that I'm really just gay and don't want to admit it, but now I'm not even acknowledged as being a part of my own community.

I shouldn't have to wear a sign to be acknowledged for who and what I am. With all the misunderstanding and misconceptions about the whole LGBT community from the outside, the last place I should be made to feel as though I have to prove myself is within it. Alas, that is how I feel, how I've always felt.

I don't need the acceptance of others in order to feel good about who I am, but it would be nice to be supported from within the group of people who have been fighting to be accepted for the same reasons I am... I just want to be free to love who I love without being judged for it. Just like everyone else.

Is perception reality?

What we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell; this is reality? Right? What is real or real to us is what is presented to us, and how we perceive it. My view of reality is likely just ever so slightly different than everyone else's. Our lives and the lives of those we interact with color our view, and change what is real to us.

Those that know me well know I'm big on truth. It's a long-standing goal of mine to be as honest and upfront about who I am, and how I feel, as I can be with any given person when the situation allows. Most people can't handle 'the real me', which is why I don't show it to them. That, along with each person's life experiences, forms the idea of who I am to them. Most people have it very wrong.

A good friend of mine, very recently, advised me on why they think I have such trouble getting close to people... or more, them close to me. She said I'm "too honest". She meant it as a compliment as she, like I, respects that kind of honesty. She also was right, though. When you present people with the whole truth of a situation they generally can't take it. Personal reality is a powerful thing. It's how we construct our lives. When that is shaken the foundation of how we see the world and ourselves is brought into question. Some people also seem to feel that level of honesty is expected in return, which also is an uncomfortable thing. The average person can't even be honest with themselves not to mention others.

The more I thought about this I realized something, despite how honest I am, there are large parts of me that I cover up. Things that shape the core of who I am, how I see the world, and the people in it. Things that I just don't share. By doing so I not only fail in my attempt to be open about myself but I also paint an inaccurate picture of myself to those that know me. Even worse, a few days back I caught myself covering up a part of myself not out of conscious thought, but totally out of impulse. I'd become so used to doing it that it had gone beyond choice and became a part of me. At that moment I knew I had to stop, take control of my life back from whatever it was I'm so afraid of. I don't even remember what that is anymore. Sure there are things about me that some people will not be comfortable with. There are even things that may cause a few people to not talk to me anymore, or new people I meet to decide not to in the first place. Outside of the possibility of some professional relationships that I might harm, people that aren't willing to accept me for who I am, 100% who I am, I don't need in my life.

If you've made it this far you likely fit into one of a few groups. 1) You are already my friend, as I define a friend, and nothing I'm going to say beyond this point will be of any surprise to you. 2) We know each other rather well but some of this you may not know or may have only suspected. 3) We're acquaintances, follow each other on Twitter/Facebook but don't really know each other, or work together, and much of this you didn't know. 4) Lastly, you stumbled into this and can't find your way out.

Since you're still reading you're prepared to know the bits about me that you think maybe you don't. I prefix the following with this. I have never been of the "loud and proud" people about anything. I am not saying this to get attention, push it in anyone's face, or further any agenda. This is my personal expression of who I am, what makes me the person you know, and hopefully like. If upon reading what follows you question your relationship with me, whatever it is, then I ask you first question your view of your world, and what defines it in your eyes. If you liked me before, then you already liked what these things mean to me, and how they've shaped me. This is my life, who I am...

- I love my friends. Let me be clear on this. I use the term friend very exclusively. There are people I've known for years with whom I am very close, who I do not think of as my friend. There are those I've known for a very short time which I do. If I call you my friend that is functionally equivalent to me telling you that I love you. Furthermore, I do not define levels of love. I don't love someone 'like a brother' or use any such restrictions on my emotions. That does not mean I necessarily have romantic feelings for my friends, it just means that those I call friends all hold a very special place in my life, and I would do anything for them, give anything for them. If you are one of these people you know it because I've told you. If you feel we are friends by your definition but notice I never use the term, now you know why. We probably are friends, by your definition, just not mine. That doesn't mean I don't care about you, just means I don't love you, at least not in the way and to the degree that I love.

This last one is the one that I've kept the quietest. I've been more vocal about it as of late, even so of all of those that will read this only about 1% of you will already know. That being said many of you will likely realize you were aware of it without knowing it once you read it. This is one thing I just didn't tell people. There's a part of me that even now feels that I shouldn't, but this is also the thing that I caught myself covering up as an automatic response.

- I am pansexual. I can be rejected by 100% of the world's population. I'm not selfish, I'm not confused. I don't like men and women and don't feel I'm entitled to be with both. I simply don't have a preference for the sex or gender of those I would be with intimately. I do have a bias toward feminine people, I just tend get along with them better and bond more easily with them emotionally. Most of my friends are, and always have been women. From a purely sexual standpoint, to be honest, I prefer men. For day-to-day life, it all balances out, and it's approximately equal most of the time. In my experience, and of those of the other bisexual/pansexual people I know with whom I've had this conversation, we are among the least understood of the LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) group. We stick out because we break the rules. Also in my experience, we're more understood by heterosexuals than homosexuals. That isn't saying much, but it's the way things seem to be. It's been said that homosexuals "don't trust us". We also are accused of feeding into the idea that homosexuals chose to be so because we 'choose'. I can no more choose who I am attracted to than anyone else. I just have a much larger pool of people I can meet, get to know, develop a crush on, then find out they're seeing someone else, or have them tell me I'm a "good friend". I love, I feel, no different than anyone else; have the same issues with love and relationships. Yet I'm made to feel out of place because of my lack of defining preference. I admit that I have had very little experience with this feeling directly, but I have watched my friends experience it, and as it affected them so it did me as I knew had I been open I would have received the same treatment. I realize now that I've been doing the same in this part of my life that I didn't want to do in the religious part. It doesn't mean I'm going to put a rainbow sticker on my car... though I don't rule that out. It does mean that when situations come up where I could comment honestly, I will... and it means when people unknowingly insult me, I will let them know they have.

There are, of course, a lot of little things about me that I don't always share, some of them aren't so little, but they have no place in a public forum. For that reason, and because part of the joy of making friends is getting to know new things about people, I will leave much behind the closed doors where they sit... but if you've come this far, and still want to know me, the real me, I welcome you to get to know me better. There are those who would say it's worth the time spent. Those people are my friends. :D

What dreams may come, and from where?

Not sure what brought it on but Friday night I had a really weird dream. Mostly it was one of those where time is distorted, and things that just shouldn't happen seem as though they're totally normal. I wouldn't think anything of it except that the focus of the dream was someone that I haven't seen, and hardly even thought about since high school.

Most of the interaction with her made sense even though little else did. Most, that is, except how she kept insisting that things I had told her about myself when we knew each other in high school weren't true. The things she said I'd told her were really odd. Such as she said I'd told her I lived in an apartment, which I certainly wouldn't have, as I didn't. Other things equally as weird. She said that if we were going to be together we had to start being honest with each other.

No frigging clue. If anything the reality would have been her not being honest with me. Back in high school, she transferred in around the beginning of my Sophomore year, and as would be normal for someone coming into a school full of people that don't know each other, she was pretty well left on her own. I wasn't exactly the welcoming committee, but I did my best to try to make her feel less alone. For a few months, we actually talked regularly and she seemed to enjoy my company. Then she ended up making friends with a few of the (shall we call them) snobs and promptly stopped talking to me, and a few of the other people that had tried to be her friend. It hurt, not so much that she acted like she didn't know me anymore as high school is a shark pit and you have to build your allegiances with whomever you think is the biggest shark, no what hurt was that she would never admit to me what was going on. Just did her best to look right past me for the rest of the three years.

Usually, I'd say she was just a fill in for whatever my subconscious thinks I'm not being honest about, but the direct interactions with her in the dream, the weird conversations aside, had the same feel to them as the dreams I have in which the events eventually end up happening. No idea what it is my mind thinks it’s figured out.

Guess it is what it is, and will be what it will be... just strange.

The world is rubbing off on me

It's been a few days since I got back from Richmond, VA. Still have TMBG songs stuck in my head, though a little Massive Attack and some Oingo Boingo have popped up, so I think the effects of the concert are wearing off. I may be 'normal' soon.

After I checked out of the hotel I made my way to Short Pump, VA, and the mall there. Nice two-story open-air place. There was still a lingering dampness in the air from the rain the night before, the air was cool, but not cold. Was a nice afternoon. Hit up a Coldstone Creamery, and enjoyed a little sweet cream. I don't do fancy for ice cream, simple makes me happy.

After I left I started thinking about something a friend said to me. I've been dealing with a fair amount of neck pain lately. More than usual. Mostly the hazards of being a tall person in a 'normal' person's world. Well, I've been lamenting the lack of anyone to rub my neck or shoulders... of course, it's not like people ever really have done that for me with any regularity. Makes me wonder why I did it for others for so long with no reciprocation. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall and decided on a whim to run the word massage through Google on my phone and see if there was anything close by.

I have never had a professional massage before, or one at all in a very long time. I've been on a 'go with it' thing for a while, seeing where the world takes me when I just let it all happen... well after a few dead ends, I found a place a few minutes away with a very low first-time customer rate and an opening in a few hours. So I arrange for that and then take a little drive. Found my way to the local cemetery, because that's where I end up when I don't know where I'm going. Totally not intentional, but it never is.

So I spend some time walking the grounds and took a few pictures. Lovely place, calm. Never have been sure why I end up at burial sites when I go wandering, I think if I should ever understand that I'll know far more about the me I'm told I don't see.

Making my way back to keep my appointment it sinks in that for the first time in two years someone will touch me intentionally. Sure I've had a few hugs and such over the years, but I'm talking about direct skin-to-skin. Furthermore, it will be more than just my hands; it will be the majority of my body. I shake it off, and try to not think about how after two years the first person to touch me will be a total stranger; someone I'll likely never see again. Head in, fill out some 'new customer' questionnaire, and meet the person who'll be in charge of how I feel for the next hour.

The whole thing went more or less how I expected it to. Was weird, but relaxing. Found it interesting that with only minor exceptions the motions she made were the same as those I've always used when massaging other people. Not sure what to make of it, if anything, just think it's interesting how I with no training came to using the same techniques as someone who does it for a living.

Still feel a little strange that the only person to intentionally touch my skin, touch my body, in the last two years was a total stranger. Otherwise, it wasn't a bad experience. I may try to find someplace locally that I can go to every so often. I try to keep my muscles happy, but most of what I know to do I can't do to myself as it just causes strain on other parts of me because of the way I have to contort myself to do it.

Other than that, nothing much to comment on at the moment. Something is coming, something important. Just not sure what it is yet.