Running on Auto Pilot

I had something special to do this morning.  It was a vital mission.  I had memorized the instructions, our watches were synchronized. I was geared up and ready to go.  Mentally, I was on target.  I was well rested, well fed and well into the start of a glorious day.  I knew what had to be done and I was ready and able to do it.  This was no ordinary day.  This was a parent-teacher conference day. 


Now Charlie is only 3 ½, and so this meeting of the minds was more of a show and tell.  The idea was that the parents (Betsy and myself) were to take Charlie into school at the appropriately scheduled time, where he was to introduce us to his teacher and show us his daily routine, his work spaces and projects, his mastery of any number of astounding tasks involving beads and bobs, strings and laces, bottles and boxes, rags and sponges.  I was as excited as any parent would be.  Really I was. 


But I also had to be at work, and not too late.  So the meet-n-greet was set up for quite early (as programmer standard time goes.)  We would be in and out in plenty of time for me to slip into work unnoticed, the wool pulled over my co-workers eyes.  And cleverly, to do so, as part of the plan, I would drive my own vehicle, separate from the rest, so I could make my mad dash after the social hour was done.


So there I was, this morning, bright and chipper, on the road to the school, alone in the car with the music blaring and my mind taking a few moments to gather my thoughts as I usually do in the car at this time.  There would be a meeting today, and if lucky we’d discuss some of the more interesting bits of my last weeks work.  I had a number of ideas in the hopper, percolating.  And what were those things that I had been so absorbed in a few days ago, before the weekend hit and I awoke Saturday morning into my new state of being, freed from my bonds and afloat in the music of well-earned day off?  It’s hard to get back those thoughts on a Monday morning, but if you give it a chance it all comes bubbling up in little bits that glom together and swirl around in your mind until a vague object resolves into a gritty flat portrait, and then you remember the rough edges and the subtle debates and your mind fills with fresh ideas that had never occurred to you before, energizing you with vigor, self-confidence and zeal.


That’s when you realize you’ve made the mistake, when you pull into the parking lot and all your thoughts fade to mush.  I had been on auto-pilot for the last twenty minutes.  Instead of the school I had driven to work.


It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t even put your mind to it.  It must just be one of those thought co-processors, chugging away in the back of my head, running the show, turning the wheel, because obviously I was somewhere else entirely.



Comments (5)

  1. Clarified Butter says:

    Maybe you ought to do some Zazen to "get into the moment". Live in the here and now and experience the thrill!

  2. Justin Shen says:

    wow! i had once experienced the same….

  3. The Younger Brother says:

    The solution to this issue in the future is simple. Charlie should be in the car with you instead of Betsy. It is really hard for your mind to wonder about work related thoughts when there is a 3 1/2 year old in the back. A 3 year-old in the car is like your boss standing over your shoulder constantly reminding you what you need to be doing, not what you would like to be doing.

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