Friday, May 16, 2008

My so called secret life

This is a cautionary tale for those who like to cat around online. If you're not careful, you could get caught.

For the last10 years or so I’ve been leading a secret life on the internet. Nothing terribly bad – an online identity my wife doesn’t know about, a web site and a credit card.

The card is one she knew about years ago but must have forgotten about. I started using it occasionally to buy access to an adult web site, and I’d pay off the balance with a money order from pocket cash. I changed the address with the credit card company to come to my office so she wouldn’t see the bill.

Everything was fine until recently when we applied for a new credit card from the same company because of a hotel reward program they offer. What I didn’t realize was that if you use the company’s online banking site, all your cards will show up there.

This led to some panic a month ago when she wanted to check the balance online. I managed to put her off long enough so I could do it at work. Both cards were there, so I called the company to cancel the first card. Unfortunately, the bank’s system keeps the information available online, but after I confessed my need to hide the card from my wife, the female customer service agent told me you can choose to hide information for certain cards, which I did from work. A little humiliating, but I kinda liked it. The thrill of confession to an anonymous stranger.

I thought I was in the clear when we went to log into online banking from home. But of course the credit card company didn’t recognize my home computer, and had to e-mail me a confirmation code. It gave two options – my home e-mail and an old “secret” e-mail account I'd used to manage the other card online. I quickly clicked on the home address, and I don’t think she was paying close enough to see the other one. I was sure was caught, but I somehow escaped. Maybe she saw it and just doesn’t want to know what it was.

All this happened right around the time I was starting this blog, and I seriously considered deleting everything and becoming a monk, in a manner of speaking. But I think I've got things under control now.

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