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How to calibrate the autopilot...? - Denese Rodgers

Last week, we had a willy-nilly, wild ride trying to get as much crammed into a four-day week as we possibly could.

As a result, when I was driving home in the evenings, I would be three quarters of the way home with no real recollection of having driven that far.

It was a tad eerie to sort of "come to my senses" somewhere around Miller's Mill Road, knowing that I had been on autopilot. It wasn't even that I was sleepy, because our office has a tendency to be a bit of a whirlwind, and I was still real hopped up in the afternoons.

I half-feared that I had made an unconscious traffic boo-boo, or run a red light, or something - but I never saw any blue lights.

I've discovered the same thing about my grocery shopping. As a normal matter of course, we need pretty much the same old, same old from one week to the next.

I pull into the lot, grab my cart, and auto-Denese kicks in, and does the shopping, while I daydream or mull over more interesting stuff in my mind.

I have literally made it all the way to the checkout before I really look to see what all I've put in the cart. I didn't realize that I normally did auto-grocery-bot until I went major-all-out-eye-popping shopping last week, and it looked like I bought two of everything!

I got tickled when the nice clerk said, "Did you find everything all right?"

It looked like I was stocking up for the Second Coming. I had actually walked up and down every aisle, and I was like a kid in a candy store.

The other thing that I discovered about sentient perusing in the aisles is that too dang much stuff is stored up over my head. I am 5-feet, 2-inches tall. The average height for an American woman is a bit over 5-foot-4.

So, why do we place grocery store items at 6-feet and above?

It is only human nature to want to take it down and look at it, even if you don't want to buy it.

During the open-eyed grocery mission, I even found the NOAA weather radio that I had been looking for, but it was a good foot higher than my best effort to get a finger on it. So, heads up grocery vendors: Put step-stools in the aisles to increase the revenue from your vertically challenged patrons.

And back to the driving thing ... I really do need to focus. I'm OK as long as the Mini Cooper and my autopilot take me to, and from, where I want to go. But I'd be a bit alarmed if I woke up headed to Locust Grove or Hampton, instead of Stockbridge.

I'd really feel like a dingbat, if my autopilot got off kilter and I got lost. I think what I'll try is getting some new tunes for my CD player, so that, maybe, I'll pay better attention by listening to something new.

Beyond that, my only option will be to Lo-Jack my carcass and give my family the ability to GPS me.

Hey! I've just come up with another point and purpose for my beloved Blackberry!

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.