I need to check a train time online and I turn on my computer which irritatingly flashes up “Enter your username and password”. I type what I think is my user name, add the latest password I can remember, and press enter.
“Password not recognised”.
I retype it.
“Incorrect password or username”.
I retype once more in case I had a moment of ‘fat finger syndrome’. (You have no idea what you’ve typed in behind those ridiculous little stars on the screen)
“Have you forgotten your username or password?”
Yes … maybe…probably ….oh God here we go again! And it’s still only the beginning of January !
“Would you like a new password?”
Oh Yes… please….
“Enter your username ”
Oh my God. What is my username? Is it my name, my email or a made up name ?
I try with my name.
“Incorrect user name”.
I try with my email address.
“Incorrect user name”
I try with my other email address. A small ball spins slowly (encouragingly) on my screen.
“Enter your password ”
What do you mean ? I’m only doing this because I’ve forgotten my password!
“Have you forgotten your password?” YES I JUST TOLD YOU THAT!
I hold my breath and wait for the command.
“Enter your username.”
I re-enter the username it accepted two minutes ago.
The small ball reappears and spins even more slowly.
“How would you like to receive your information?”
A bloody homing pigeon will do. I’ve spent twenty minutes on this already.
“Does your phone end in these last four digits?”
“Do you have access to that phone?”
“Would you prefer to answer your security questions?”
I’ll do the security questions.
I hold my breath, cross my fingers and hope I’m correct about where my parents met 90 years.
The ball spins again.
“Enter your new password”. I know, it has to be at least 8 letters with one capital letter and at least one number.
“Re enter your new password” .
“Your passwords (which I can’t see because they are both hidden behind the bloody stars) don’t match”!
I re-type slowly and methodically.
“This Password is not accepted. You have used this password in the last 6 months ”
I KNOW THAT. THAT IS THE PASSWORD YOUR SITE REJECTED HALF AN HOUR AGO.
FInally, after several more rejections of my suggestions – ‘too short, not strong enough, used by you before’ – the computer and I agree on an acceptable new password and I am allowed to log on. Phew!
I leave the computer and pick up my iPAD to do my emails in comfort.
A message flashes up on the iPad “Your mail server is not responding”
Of course ….change one machine and all the other devices need changing.
I sort out my iPad by putting in the new password. I relax, mission accomplished.
Today I attempt to use my phone.
“The mail server is not responding”
Agh! It needs the new password and I’ve taken the firm advice ‘keep passwords safe do not write them down.’
My short term memory isn’t responding and right now I can’t remember which of the half dozen passwords was the one the system finally accepted.
However, I have the consolation of knowing I can always get a new password, if only I can remember my username.
Tomorrow I am going to attempt to do my tax return. So far I have failed to even get through the Gateway because their password security system is even more challenging.
I need a lie down.