Last evening I received an e-mail from an editor. She was accepting a story and asked if I would e-mail it to her so she wouldn't need to retype it. I happened to be sitting at the computer when her e-mail arrived, so I shot the story back to her within five minutes.
I attended a business luncheon today and, when I stopped at the office* before continuing on to a client's office this afternoon, I found a voice mail asking if I'd sent the story. I sent the story again and then phoned her. Even though neither e-mail had bounced back to me as undeliverable, she had not received them. Neither e-mail was stuck in her spam filter, and neither of us knew why the e-mails failed to reach her or where they had gone. She planned to talk to her company's network gurus to see if they might have a clue what had happened.
I don't know the end of this story. I don't know if her network gurus solved the problem or if she had to retype the story.
What I do know is that problems like these--though less common than they were a few years ago--continue to interfere with my working relationships. We have all come to rely so heavily on e-mail and the Internet that we may think ill of the person at the other end of the wire (editor or writer) for failing to respond or failing to meet a deadline when, in fact, there's a technological glitch interferring with our communication.
*Sounds more professional than saying, "I stopped at home," doesn't it?