This morning, while walking to the school building from my car, I was overwhelmed with the sweet smell and sharp sounds of spring. The sun was just reaching over the railroad yard and lighting a path to the entrance of my workplace with the first golden rays of daylight. By the time I made it to the door, I felt content and thankful. Wherever I was going to be, it was going to be a beautiful, password protected day.
As such, I punch in my secret code to get in the building, and then walk down the empty hallway to my room. My jangling keys echo in the quiet as I unlock the door, walk in and sit down in front of my computer. I type my username and password to sign in to the computer. Then, I put in my username and password for my email. The computer loads and I'm early, so type in the password to unlock my phone and I check my text messages while I brew myself a cup of coffee.
After a while, my students arrive, and I put in my username and password to take attendance. Per my daunting assignment, they all sign in to their Chromebooks, so I sign in to Google Docs to guide their work. However, I miss-type my password, because although it is through the school, it is a different password than the one to sign on to my computer. Then I realize I am typing in the door code to get in the building instead of my Google Docs password.
I have come to realize I actually function better during these times if I let my robot brain take over, and I don't think. If I just go through the motions, and let my fingers pluck the keys at that certain time of day when it is needed to sign in to that or pay for this, I'm fine.
However, the other day while paying for my groceries at Kroger, I stopped to think about something, and when it came time to pay, I could not remember my PIN number (which is different than all my other passwords and numbers because it is a different length). I felt for sure the lady at the register thought I had stolen the card or simply did not have the money and was overdrawn. The more I tried to remember the number, the more it slipped my mind. Finally, the machine locked my card out. It was a good thing, because I was getting creative with some of the letters on that pad.
I won't begin to tell you the password games we had to go through when we filed our own taxes. It was so complex and time consuming that it was slightly impressive. And then there are the passwords to pay our school loans and other bills, insurance, insurance, and insurance.
While it is sometimes necessary, and meant for our safety, it is still remarkable the vast array of numbers and codes that we deal with on a daily basis. And it seems to be growing. Pretty soon, I am going to need a username and password to get my list of username and passwords. Right now I just hide my list under my boss's chair.
Introspectively, whenever I forget my code or number, I admonish myself, and if in public, I become embarrassed. More often than not, the moment of my forgetfulness comes when I am in a hurry or on the spot. I'm thinking about putting one on our bathroom door at home.
Well, I say we should stop scolding ourselves. Nay, I say we should lift up the memory mishap and yell, "I am human and I forget!" It is natural to forget and real. We are not computers, and I don't want to be.
So ask me for my ten digit code again tax lady from the email, and this time remind me that one character in my password cannot be a number or a letter. Send me that little box that gives me the opportunity to prove that I am not a robot, even though many times I still can't tell what it is. I'm ready.
Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.firstname.lastname@example.org.