The other day I did the unthinkable. Let me rephrase: I was not thinking.
I was late to work, so I ran onto the subway without checking the colored circle and letter naming its destination. I found myself on the F instead of the N, which isn't such a tragedy except that it was rather inconvenient.
My solution was to get out at the next stop, climb up the stairs and walk a couple blocks only to climb down the stairs to spend another two bucks for another train. Of course, once I got where I wanted to go, I had to climb up the $@#! stairs again.
There are certain things you wind up doing repeatedly, and sometimes the body keeps doing them without consulting the brain. I wonder if such things happen to those who drive to work? I hope not.
Autopilot is not new to me. I've managed to get on the wrong train several times, winding up in the wrong neighborhood because my body has forgotten that I no longer live on the Upper West Side.
I've wound up going to my old gym, without meaning to. I've trudged through the labyrinthian passages of the Times Square subway station, only to realize minutes later that I missed my train an escalator and two stairways ago. Duh.
I'm reminded of my childhood beliefs - that the radio was piped in from underground, and that cars, driven repeatedly on the same roads, came to know where they were going.
I thought the old white Ford I grew up with knew the twisty turny roads leading home, if only because the turns and dips felt so natural. The car also seemed to pick up speed when we were close to home. I thought if my parents just lifted their hands from the wheel, we'd just keep barreling forward.
Perhaps I was an unwashed white Ford in a past life, or a Mini Cooper in British racing green. In any case, something inanimate without a thought bubble.