Barack Obama’s Approach to E-mail Has Been Very Confusing of Late

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

I'll admit to experiencing a little instantaneous frisson of excitement every time Barack Obama's name pops up in the sender column of my inbox. But lately, something's different.

Take today, for instance. At 1:16 p.m., he wrote me an e-mail headlined, "If I don't call you," preemptively apologizing for the fact that he's going to be very busy and probably won't get around to ringing. But he also raised the possibility that he might! So now I'm going to be thinking about it every time my phone buzzes. And he also added this: "And if I don't call you, there's a chance I'll see you at dinner with three other supporters sometime soon." So, are you sounding me out for whether I'd be interested in dinner? Letting me down easy? I'M SO CONFUSED.

I mean, just on September 16, he wrote me this e-mail that seemed very direct from its subject line: "Noreen, can we meet for dinner?" I was into the idea. But then he was so vague when it came to nailing down the details. "[W]henever I can, I want to take the opportunity to meet you," he wrote. "Sometime soon." And he made it clear that it was going to be a group thing again ("three other people"), and so I was like, fine, okay, I get it. Plus, I found out that he sent my friend the exact same e-mail on the same day, only with the subject line "Let's Meet." It's like he thought we wouldn't talk about it, which, ha. It's like he's being toxic on purpose.

But then ... I dunno. He signed off with, "maybe I'll get to thank you in person," and it really seemed like he wanted me to read something more into that, you know?

It's been going on for so long, too. He started e-mailing me about dinner all the way back in June. And I think he's been thinking about that, too. Like, in August, he wrote me this e-mail that was titled "Frustrated." It was supposedly about Congress, but why did he use that subject line, exactly? But then I remembered that his wife e-mailed me on his birthday about signing his birthday card, and I had this moment where I was just like, Noreen: You. Need. To. Cut. This. Off.

The other sort of awkward thing is that he keeps hitting me up for cash in these e-mails. I should just end this, right?