Wokesday: Mental Autopilot

Happy Hump Day, Lyfers. It’s me. For this segment of Wokesday, I’m talking about what I like to call Mental Autopilot AND, so this blog isn’t one paragraph, about the last time I used it.

The Hell is Mental Autopilot?
Good question that I totally didn’t anticipate! Mental Autopilot is a term I’d like to coin to describe the action of doing certain things without being emotionally invested in them. I don’t mean “emotionally invested” in that bullshit loaded “oh ha ha ha look at how rational I am, with my lack of emotions and huge surplus of pizza rolls, someone please hold me, I’m so alone,” way. I mean it in the “I do not have enough emotional bandwidth to deal with this so I’m just going to mechanically do it,” way.

Mental Autopilot is great for people like me who have shit to do even though their feelings (I like to call them my fee-fees) might not be cooperating that day. It basically guarantees certain things like basic hygiene and cleaning happen even though The Eternal Void of My Unending Despair rages on inside of me.

When Does Mental Autopilot Happen?
It’s different for everyone, which is a real cop-out of an answer. I personally have a hell of a time with transitions because they unsettle me in a way that leads me to question the meaning of life and everything in it like an asshole. And I can’t just not bathe, so I disengage from myself and do it anyway. I’ve also used it for much shorter periods of time like when:

  • Making a phone call.
  • Answering a phone call.
  • Paying my bills.
  • Cleaning bathrooms.
  • Talking friends off the ledge.
  • Going to medical appointments.
  • Dealing with grieving people.
  • Not punching my great Uncle into next year when he once grabbed and squeezed my thigh at a family gathering.
  • Breaking up with someone.
  • Writing papers in college.
  • Checking my grades.

See how some of those things are big, and some are small? Well, all of those things have two things in common: they made me very, very anxious, and they were unavoidable. It’s an unstoppable force (life) hitting a soft and sensitive object (me).

So When Was the Last Time you Flipped that Switch, Buttnana?
Two days ago. And I realize what I am about to tell you is sad and morbid and uncomfortable. So I’m coping with humor again. Content notice: death of a pet.

The Scene: I had roughly 48 hours notice to fly somewhere (yes I made it safely). I had a couple things planned for my week that I had to do all in one day as a result. And I had some  personal stuff go awry at the same time because when it rains, it pours.

I was sleeping at 9AM when the doorbell rang. I answered it to see my neighbor. Who was crying. Hysterically. Why? One of their cats had been run over and, unfortunately, had died. They needed my help moving the cat from the street because I am more able-bodied than they.

Monday morning and I had to help my neighbor move a body. *beep boop* Mental Autopilot engaged.

I went outside and immediately locked myself out of the house with no shoes, no bra, no phone. Excellent.

Between the two of us it took a hot second to retrieve a plastic bag for the cat because we were both hobbling over the asphalt.

Plastic bag in hand, I limped back to my house to grab a piece of wood to move the cat and promptly stepped in a pile of shit. Awesome. Me neighbor was still crying and trying to put their other cats in the house. And their dogs were just. Fucking. Barking. Unending borks forever. I felt like I was in one of those war scenes where someone’s numbly making their way through death and destruction everywhere except there was only one death and one-and-a-half destroyed people.

Between the sharp-ass asphalt and the morning dew on the grass my feet were already numb when I knelt next to the cat in the street. Not a gruesome death, but a death nonetheless. The wood I’d grabbed was too thick. Useless. I could feel my neighbor watching me, though, so I couldn’t like, make it look like I was trying not to touch the corpse of their friend. What kind of asshole would that make me?

So instead of pausing to think about how fucking ridiculous this whole situation was, Mental Autopilot empowered me to say a little prayer for the kitty because she was my neighbor’s good friend, and gently lift her into the bag with my bare Buttnana hands.

My neighbor was still inconsolable when I limped back to them, trying to keep the smeary, bloody side of the bag facing behind me. And it was so, so morbidly surreal how heavy that bag was. I never thought of cats being anything but weightless, you know?

We had to hide the body from their young daughter. Because what’s moving a body without hiding it, right? Well, while they were unlocking the gate, I heard one of my dogs give a mighty operatic wail because he could hear me, but couldn’t see me and he didn’t like that. I said, “Oh I know, Slob,” which is a well-known and loved nickname for this little guy:

And my neighbor…I shit you not…stopped crying to say “Oh I know, my back yard is a mess.”

I’m sorry.
What did I just hear?

MY NEIGHBOR THOUGHT I WAS CALLING THEM A SLOB. OH MY GOD. Like I took that moment to really kick them while they were down. Like it was in any way appropriate for me to remark on the condition of their back yard at that moment. We were moving a fucking body, not hosting a garden party.

I was mortified and my hurried reassurances that I was talking to my dog did nothing to undo the dark solidity of that moment. Holy shit.

We secreted the body where it would be safe from the dogs, because there’s nothing more morbid than that thought, right? “Yeah no I don’t know where the cat is but it has nothing to do with what the dogs just ate.”

I helped them corral their other cats into the house. So I touched a dead cat before I touched live cats that day, which is weird to think about.

My neighbor let me call my brother to let me back in the house. But not before I stepped in a second pile of shit. Bruh.

Mental Autopilot: When you just need to do The Thing. You can always drink about it later.

I’ll see you lovelies Friday! I have some tutoring to do before then. Wanna tell me about your experiences with Mental Autopilot? Go for it.

Love always,





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