BlackBerry’s email service went down Monday afternoon, leaving many of the wireless email device’s 12 million customers without real time access to their messages.

BlackBerry customers didn’t take it well. Reports The Associated Press:

BlackBerry outages are rare, but when they do hit, like one did Monday that wiped out service across United States and Canada, subscribers who have become addicted to the smart phones are quick to unleash their fury.

"I’m mad — it’s enough already," said a frustrated Stuart Gold, who said he gets 1,000 e-mails a day as director of field marketing for Web analytics company Omniture Inc. and can’t afford the downtime.

Gold, who worked most of Monday on a laptop while traveling, plans to ask his company to buy him a backup smart phone from a rival like Palm Inc., which makes the Treo, in case BlackBerry service goes on the fritz again.

"I don’t know what happened, I don’t care what happened. They need to save their excuses for someone who cares," Gold said.

It was not immediately clear late Monday what caused the outage — the second widespread disruption in less than a year. Some users reported being able to access their service normally.

Research in Motion Ltd., the Waterloo, Ontario-based company that makes the ubiquitous mobile device, said late Monday that customers "experienced intermittent delays" beginning around 3:30 p.m. EST, but data service was restored about three hours later. The company said voice and text messaging services were not affected.

"No messages were lost and message queues began to be cleared after normal service levels were restored,’ RIM said, apologizing to customers for the inconvenience.

BlackBerries are better known as "CrackBerries" to those who use them. I know. I’m a CrackBerry addict and feel lost without instant access to email.  I missed an important message from an editor who needed a photo Monday afternoon because my BlackBerry was silent when it should have been receiving emails.

We all managed to function in earlier times before cell phones, pagers and wireless email devices. Now it seems like we just can’t do without them.