Tuesday, December 14, 2010

M is for Memory

It was the worst feeling ever.

This morning was a morning just like every other morning. I got into work, booted up the computer and started my daily routine of getting things up and running. First I open email. Next I open the library cataloging program. Next I open Firefox and within Firefox I open my tabs in a specific order. After that I open iTunes, and then another Library program. If nothing else, I am a creature of extreme habit.

So, I booted up email and went to the next program. I double-clicked the icon and waiting for the login box. Once it popped up and asked for my username and password, I suddenly had no earthly idea what it was. This program that I have used daily for years, this program that I log into without thinking twice suddenly was asking for username and password that I couldn't remember.

I tried several combinations that I was pretty sure were wrong as I typed them. They were wrong. I tried not to panic. I tried not to feel stupid. I failed on both counts. I decided that I should open up something else and do some routine work for 15-20 minutes and then return to the problem program at hand. Hopefully, I reasoned, when I came back, I would just type in the information without thinking twice. Long story short: it didn't work.

I sat at my desk awhile and pondered my next move. I wondered why I couldn't remember the login information in the first place. I diagnosed myself with a case of hysterical Alzheimers. I worried this was the beginning of a slow descent of losing my memory. I wondered what else I had already forgotten and then decided I'd never remember it anyway.

Finally I had no other recourse. I got up and went to a coworker, owning up to the dumbest question ever. "I don't have the SLIGHTEST idea what my username is with this program. Is there any reason you would have that information?" Without telling the entire world my username and password, I will, in fact, tell you that I was missing the letter "m". As soon as she said "m" I instantly lit up and said, "Oh! That's it! I know that's it!" We shared similar stories of forgetfulness, and eventually I trudged back to my desk and was successful on my first try (which was really about my 67th try).

There are so many bits of information -- phone numbers, events, names, addresses, passwords -- that need to be at the forefront of our memory where they can be nimbly plucked at a moments notice. In a way, I'm surprised that my sense of total recall hasn't broken down before now. But, armed with planners, calendars, address books, smart phones, and helpful humans, I can take comfort in knowing that tomorrow morning, once all this kerfluffle has blown over, won't forget that password.

With a little help from my M's.

No comments: