Maybe it was my brother that started it, or maybe it was the mosquito. I had stayed up late on Saturday night reading about government systems in different countries and emailing myself articles and URLs as I did so to try and prevent a mad scramble to create a reference list when I start writing (it won’t).

Despite the fact that I now do a lot of reading online, I still find it hard not to have physical pieces of paper to underline and jot notes upon. I have all the documents that I have read saved safely away but if I were to print them all out, it would be piles and piles of paper. I may have gone a bit far in reading for this assignment and the result is that I have far too much to cover. Even last night, as the little hand slipped past the twelve on the clock, I carried on, and did not realise how far I had digressed in my investigation of state versus federal power until my husband came to see if I had fallen asleep at the computer after waking up an finding me still not in bed. I was still awake, but had gone way, way down the rabbit hole in pursuing an idea that state law reform could lead to federal reform and was reading about Dr Harold Shipman, a notorious serial killer in the UK.  It is too easy to hop about online.

If I thought a late night was going to mean a long, deep sleep I was wrong. At just gone four, my eyelids flipped open at the sound of a mosquito doing what felt like low passes over my face and arms. I am not sure how it got in, but I did not want to put on the light to try and find it because that would wake my husband up. I hid my arms under the covers and covered my face with the sheet.

Passwords, I have too many passwords.

Instead of going back to sleep, I started worrying about passwords.

I used to have a system for my passwords, which has irretrievably broken down since major sites have increased their security demands on hapless users like me. The result is a long list of random credentials that I am not longer able to keep on top of. When you add to that the increasing list of accounts that I am now looking after for my parents, the task starts to look impossible – like keeping PIN numbers in my head.

Since the introduction of ‘paywave’ a system whereby you can just tap your credit card onto a machine for purchases under $100 and do not have to enter a PIN, the likelihood of me forgetting one of mine has been increasing. I forgot it completely once before paywave – a normal  Saturday shopping, with me reaching back into my memory to pluck the PIN number from  wherever I store it, only to find nothing there. The worse thing was that when I eventually found a record of the number, it looked totally unfamiliar, as if The Men In Black had been through with their neuralizer and taken just this specific memory out.

A while back I was worrying about this and had jotted down a cryptic note to myself in case of another MIB visit. As much as I tried to ignore the buzzing vampire, the threat of another onset of amnesia was too much and I quietly got out of bed and padded into the room where I had scribbled the information.

Five minutes later, my mind was at ease, but the light was snapped on. My husband was behind me.

‘It is 4.30 am, what are you doing?’ he said.

‘You may not want to know.’

‘Try me,’ he replied.

To his credit he listened without surprise as I explained the password and the PIN crisis. Maybe he has been living with me so long that these occasional bouts of madness are no longer a surprise. As he turned the light back off and headed back towards the bedroom. He made only one comment.

‘Oh, there is a mosquito in there, by the way.’


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