Email belatedly.I've been experiencing a similar email condition to my co-worker, Matt Cutts which is to say the holidays provided little respite to work or communication and, again like Matt, I'm also receiving an impressive number of non-Googler emails which require preperation and care and a response if I'm not to feel like a dark-hearted ass.
I started on a campaign to work through these. In November I had ~21,000 legitimate unread emails. I'm now down to ~6,000. I'm starting to respond to messages as old as last fall.
If you get this kind of email from me, please accept my apologies for the delay. I find it's sometimes to fun to receive these as if they were ocean-faring messages in a bottle, a snapshot of an earlier era. A wonderful, digital tintype.
Um, yeah, how's that sound?