Force of habit is a wonderful thing. It is what allows us to live our lives. If we had to think as hard as a two year old about walking or talking, as hard as a five year old about reading, we would be unable to function. A vast amount of what we do, we do on auto-pilot. My cousin used to work as a secretary transcribing tapes for solicitors; she said that the words on the tapes used to pass through her ears to her fingers and from them into the documents without ever touching her brain. I experience the same thing often when walking, or, more dangerously, driving; a whole journey can pass unmarked whilst I remain enraptured by the skull cinema inside my head and my body performs on autopilot.

This is truly “dead time”; time I don’t experience at all, time which passes unnoticed while I carry on imaginary conversations with people who exist only in my head. This is the time in which accidents happen, when I could drive blindly into someone or step out into the path of a lorry as I go through familiar motions for the thousandth time whilst seeing in my mind’s eye the empty road I have seen every time before rather than the cyclist or tipper truck which is really there. Force of habit can get me out of bed at 5.15 to go swimming in a chilly lido on a rainy day, it can keep me going into work when I’d rather stay in bed, it can make me blog when I really don’t feel like it, but like all blind powers which are good servants but bad masters, it can easily kill me or someone else if I don’t use it wisely.

More tomorrow.