I never wrote back here to say, finally, that disabling email alerts in my gmail solved the problem that I was having. I know that my problem differed from the original post, but... well, my issue was resolved. Mail is no longer engaged, and no longer interrupts me to request that I configure the application. Simple.
And I don't really miss the email notifications in google. that was one consideration for me, but I find the pop-ups in the corner provided by notification center much more useful.
Thank you Glen!