Friday, December 9, 2016

Three Paragraphs: Three Reflexes

*blink*

*puts hands in mouth*

*Ctrl+T*

The * is a useful way to mark actions in internet writing. It tells you that what you're reading isn't a word, but is instead a description of what that person is doing. The three actions I have described above have something in common. They're all reflexes.

The first one is universal. Everyone blinks. You're doing it right now. Now you're trying not to because I'm making you self-conscious. Now you're giving up and doing it anyways. Let's move on. The next one is common but not universal. I stick my fingers in my mouth all the time without thinking. Some of my co-workers bump my elbows when I do it. It doesn't make me stop. It's reflexive. It means I'm stressed. I can't figure out how to stop because I don't even notice when I'm doing it.

The last one is the keyboard shortcut for opening a new tab in your browser. I have done it so much, I don't even have to look down at the keyboard to make it happen. My pinky drops down to ctrl, my index finger flexes out and presses "T" and then I'm punching in the first three letters of a website I've visited a thousand times. The I push the down arrow and start looking to see if there's anything new worth reading. 90% of the time there isn't. Ctrl+T doesn't provide a magical portal to a new word. Yet I'm pushing it hundreds of times a day without even thinking. Where did I even learn this behaviour? I don't know. Like the slap of the elbow, there's no stopping it because I'm not even thinking about it.

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