101 things about me

Monday, 4 June 2007

Password Overload

It is a Monday and I have taken the day off. I am unwell. My mind is not focused and I have the remains of a jagged headache. I returned to bed (having informed my bosses I would not be able to make it to work) and slept some extra hours. I woke at 11am with the symptoms unrelenting.

Nausea, shaking hands, insomnia, a cold sweat. Yes, these point very squarely to a good dose of Monday-itis. I recognise this as I generally suffer minor outbreaks of the same illness, oh, about once a week! But it is not the case, because worse than all those symptoms, is my sudden loss of memory.

Just the other day, as I sat at my computer, hands poised over the keyboard, it hit for the very first time. My mind went completely blank. It's true. Completely. Blank. For the life of me I could not recall what to type in the required field. It was frightening. I didn't know what to do. So I sat back, paused and then plunged my head deep into the nearest sandpit and ignored my plight, hoping it would go away! Alas, I am still tormented, and after a week-end stressing and worrying it seems I can ignore it no longer.

I am unable to make a doctor's appointment until Friday (too bad if I am on my death bed, which thankfully, I am not!) and so I have spent the last couple of hours on the internet trying to determine (in true self diagnosis fashion) what might be wrong. After much perseverance, I have found the cause of my confusion. I am relieved to say I do not have scarlet fever or cholera, nor am I suffering from appendicitis or influenza. I don't have (nor do I want) leprosy or the plague. I have listed my symptoms and crossed all number of possibilities off the list. There is only one diagnosis that remains. It's official. I am suffering a modern affliction - password overload.

Yes it is true. It is a modern phenomenon. A result of living in this technically complicated era.

Now I don't know about you, but when I got my first plastic card to access my bank account via an atm, there was a certain amount of concern that remembering a 4 digit pin may well risk my financial independence. I memorised the number and as a safeguard, I also entered it in my address book, under a fake contact, with a coded phone number. That was over 20 years ago.

Our lives are now linked by cards, memberships, reward programs and security passes. We are told they make our lives 'more simple' but the passwords are piling up. My address book is now full of people who I don't know, from places I have never visited and my address book and I can no longer cope. Library, Ebay, Amazon, work email, home email, gmail, security passes into work, internet banking, phone banking, my gym membership, frequent flyers, the list goes on and on...

Each has it's own password, pin number or keypad combination. And I can't seem to remember any of them. I have no money, I can't ride my bike, someone has to get me into the office where I remain trapped until 5 when I am released, and I can no longer borrow a DVD from the local video store. I can't even gain access to the local gym (perhaps there are some blessings afterall!)

Apparently there is no cure. Apparently, it is an affliction suffered by many, most of whom remain undiagnosed. Maybe you suffer the same symptoms? Perhaps there is a need for a self help group. Maybe one already exists. If it does - would you let me know. It would make me feel so much better to know I am not alone. I would suggest you email, but I can't remember my password. Maybe you should phone or write me a letter! Better still post a comment.


Wanderer said...

Hmmm, usernames and passwords are a worry for me also but not because I don't remember them (which I don't) but because in my daily dealings with sites I am never asked for them directly as I have entrusted these annoying "details" to my keychain, the password manager on Mac OS X.

That's a good thing I hear you say, maybe so in the day to day scheme of things but when I am accessing, say my bank account, from a different computer, I am lost, panic-stricken and dumbfounded. Which is why I have a secret technique when I select a password for a particular purpose, which... well... actually I can't tell you about it because if I did my entire online world would be open for pillaging.

Fat lot of help that was, sorry mate!

one little acorn said...

Hmmm - Yeh, thanks Joe (I think). No keychains for me! I will not allow technology to take over for me in this area - that's what got me into this fine mess in the first place!