The many perils of living your life in autopilot mode
Have you ever pulled into your work car park and suddenly been hit by the realisation: 'I don't remember my drive here at all'?
You wouldn’t be alone as figures reveal a disturbing 50 per cent of us admit to travelling to and from work with no recollection of our journey.
There are some things we do day in and day out that become so ingrained in our brains that we end up doing them on autopilot like we’re living in some kind of Groundhog Day existence.
From grabbing the same breakfast or lunch to checking the same websites to automatically waking up at the same time even on days off, we can be creatures of habit drifting through our actions as if in a zombie like trance.
Problems arise when our autopilot actions occur in the wrong time or place leading to us making mistakes and looking or sounding rather silly.
I’m not talking mistakes on the level of the embarrassing Oscars fiasco when the top award was erroneously given to the wrong film because of an envelope mix-up – oops.
But it’s more the daft and idiotic things we do when sailing through life – the kind of gaffes that make us want to hit our own forehead and exclaim: “Doh!”
One of my colleagues is leaving our happy gang for pastures new.
And she has confessed she is a bit worried she’ll do something nutty like automatically drive to the wrong workplace or answer the phone at her new office trilling: “Newsroom” or introduce herself as working for the Lancashire Post.
We’ve told her there’s no need to worry.
The rest of us are still struggling to get used to the fact we’re not the “Lancashire Evening Post” any longer.
Anyway, if she does turn up, we’ve promised to leave it for at least half a day and get some decent graft out of her before saying: “Er, you do realise you don’t work here anymore?”
I have to admit I have been guilty of driving on autopilot and suddenly ending up at the wrong place before realisation dawns.
When they were at primary school, my children would sometimes look at me all flummoxed when I’d pull up outside the school gates on a Saturday because my car automatically seemed to head in that direction.
And I’ve definitely fallen foul of the automated telephone answering pitfall.
When answering my home telephone or mobile, I often say: “Hello newsroom” to the bewilderment of the person on the other end.
When I was a general reporter, I used to do regular “calls” which entails ringing the emergency services regularly to ask if “anything has been happening”.
So used to calling this long list of numbers was I, I knew most of them off by heart.
But it was a tad embarrassing when I once called my friend in Liverpool for a chat and hastily tapped in her number (which I also knew by heart) only to have a voice boom: “Hello! Liverpool Coastguard.”
I did have a real snigger at Hubby the other morning when he sleepily grabbed his deodorant only to realise he’d sprayed himself with air freshener. He smelt like a fresh meadow all day.
Oh, I’ve finished writing this column without realising it! I must have done it on autopilot ...