The Doctor had the day off yesterday, and decided to do deal with all the ‘admin’ - ie random pieces of paper - that floats around our house, piling up on every available surface, and never getting dealt with. (Whenever I go to other people’s houses and their surfaces are sparklingly empty, I always wonder where the hell they keep it).
In particular, he wanted to set up some new system that somehow encrypts all the internet passwords we ever need to use, so no-one villainous can ever get hold of them and steal our identities.
Now I am rubbish at passwords and pin numbers. I invent them quickly because I want to get on with whatever I am doing – like booking a train ticket, checking my bank balance - and then I instantly forget them. I used to write them in my diary, but The Doctor was always warning me not to write them down, so I stopped.
It doesn’t help that now there are so many passwords and logins. In the good old days, you only had to remember a couple of bank card pin numbers. But now, you can’t order your shopping online without some horror dialogue box popping up and asking you for 1st, 15th and 77th letter of your password (is it just me, or is that really hard to work out?). And you can’t ring up and speak to someone about your mobile phone without them demanding your mother’s aunt’s maiden name or the birthday of your first pet.
So when The Doctor turns to me and says – “so what’s your online password for the XXX account, the one that we set up a couple of weeks ago” my mind races. Oh lord. What possible combination of letters, numbers, names, birthdays, anniversaries and just random words can I have used?
I used to pride myself on my ultra-sharp memory – I was the one that always remembered what year a particular event took place, or the names of other people’s children – but somehow my brain cannot compute this kind of information any more. That side of my memory (if it ever existed – I think it probably ranks with remembering how to set the video) has been pushed aside by all the rubbish that I need to remember these days. Like packing the Littleboys’ nursery bags with fresh trousers each night, not leaving my mobile in the car/losing the pram and buying more baby wipes/hummus/petit filous. They say motherhood makes you great at multi-tasking and that’s true – but somehow, important stuff like how to access your life savings goes down the plughole.
I had to admit, shamefaced, that I have no idea for the life of me what the password was. And we have to start from scratch, registering on the web site all over again. So we descend, once again, into password hell.