July 19, 2018 | Miles Brucker

People Admit The Weirdest Things They’ve Done While Their Brains Were On Autopilot

We’ve all heard it said that humans are creatures of habit—and we’d probably all know it was true anyway even if we hadn’t heard anyone say it. There’s hardly any of us out there who don’t know the feeling of suddenly realizing we’ve been doing stuff without even being consciously aware it, and at times we’re shocked to realize that some of the things we unwittingly did was downright ridiculous. That’s what happens when are brains go on autopilot!

Let’s make sure we’re all fully alert and attentive right now, though, to enjoy reading about the experiences that others have gone through during these kinds of moments. I can only hope that no plane will ever behave as silly on autopilot as some of these people did!

Brain Autopilot factsMedium

33. Flying Pretty High Before Setting Foot On The Plane

Was taking my belt off at airport security. After I unbuckled, I momentarily thought I was in the bathroom and started unzipping. Stopped myself half a second before I pulled everything down.

Brain Autopilot factsOpinionFront

32. Errors of Mathematical Proportions

I was tutoring another student on geometry (arc and area and what not) just after I had finished cramming for and taken a Calc test. About three-quarters of the way through the poor kid’s homework I realized that I had not done any of the problems correctly. Rather, to the student's endless confusion, I had been integrating the circumference of the circle between the endpoints of the arc.

Once I realized my mistake I redid the work with him and reimbursed the session cost.

I've never seen someone so grateful to find out that they were doing their math right and that I was in whatever post-apocalyptic math-based dreamscape.

Brain Autopilot factsFunender

31. Dropping the Wrong F-Word

The name of the place I work at begins with an "F" and I was chatting with one of my coworkers who was telling me how she runs ten miles or so every morning as the phone was ringing. What was going through my head was "f*** that" so when I answered the phone I said "F*** this is Travis how can I help you?"

Brain Autopilot factsEl Ciudadano

30. Polly Want a Lollipop?

When I was little I had two bird pets. One day I was holding one with my right hand and playing with the bird. Sometime later I got myself a lollipop and was licking on it. Eventually, I had been holding both of them at the same time. Now guess what I licked.


Brain Autopilot factsNational Geographic Blog

29. They Call It Beauty Sleep For a Reason

Woke up three hours early for some reason and didn't check the clock but thought I was running late. Rushed through getting ready for work and hit the road. Think it's a bit darker than usual but it could just be grey clouds before the rain. Roads are bit emptier then I'm expecting, must be lucky today...

Finally pull up to work and start opening up the shop before anyone else gets in. Look over at the clock and realize I still have two hours to go before I even wake up. Almost went home but decided to stay and just take off three hours earlier than normal.

Brain Autopilot factsOukas.info

28. Well That’s Just Downright Cheesy

I bought a block of cheese for myself last weekend while my fiancé was away in Nashville. Put it in the fridge like a normal person. At some point I had to get something out of the "miscellaneous" drawer in the kitchen (you know, the one that holds pencils/rubber bands/menus). I didn't find what I was looking for in there, but I did find an unopened block of cheese. No idea how I managed to put it there, nor do I remember ever taking it out of the fridge. But it had to be me, right?

Brain Autopilot facts

27. Always Read the Label Before Pouring

When I was sick and feeling feverish, I decided to take some Motrin to try and alleviate the symptoms. Usually I grab the pill bottle and shake out two pills, but instead I grabbed my water bottle first and poured water all over my hand.

Brain Autopilot factsImgur

26. A Case of Mistaken Identity

I was walking through town with my girlfriend at the time, looking at stalls and shops and she was in my periphery, or so I thought... She had stopped to look at something else and a woman of roughly the same height and hair color was stood next to me.

I checked my phone for time, gently caressed her shoulders and said: "come on now, it's time for us to head off." And just walked away from this woman.

I turned around a few meters later to see my girlfriend a luminescent shade of embarrassed and this entirely freaked out little old Asian woman.

Brain Autopilot factsNotable Life

25. I’ve Heard of the Shoe-Phone, But This Is a New One…

Back when we had a landline I was talking on the cordless phone and when I hung up I stuck it in the fridge without even blinking an eye. It was lost for hours and nobody noticed until we got a phone call and the fridge started ringing.

Brain Autopilot factsVitalia

24. Message From the Future?

I used to fall asleep in class quite often, and normally my writing would trail off into something illegible and then I'd be out for the count for 10 to 15 mins. One time I woke up after an in-class power nap to find that my writing had trailed off and then I'd written "my son" as clear as anything at the end of the sentence. I was 13 or 14 at the time and don't have any children.

Brain Autopilot factsLyncTutorial

23. There’s No Place Like My Former Home

Not too weird because it does make sense, I recently moved to the apartment directly above the one I used to live in. My former roommate leaves the door unlocked.

The frequency at which I just storm in and enter my empty old bedroom is staggering.

Brain Autopilot facts

22. This Is Not the Report I Was Hoping For

Typing up a report for work. Coworkers having a conversation near me. I proceed to start transcribing their conversation.

Another time after work I got into the passenger seat of my car and waited a good two minutes to be driven home before realizing I was alone.

Brain Autopilot factsAeros

21. Did They Lower the Drinking Age?

When I was in school (6th grade I think) my mom would make my bagged lunch. She would wrap soda cans with aluminum foil so they would stay cold (pretty sure that doesn't work). One day I unwrapped my soda and discovered she packed me a beer that day.

Brain Autopilot factsTufts Now

20. OJ Did It

I had orange juice at work. While I had someone in my office I went to shake it, but the cap was off and I proceeded to shower myself with OJ.

Brain Autopilot factsEasy Health Options

19. Wake Up and Quit Horsing Around!

I cared for a horse for several years.

First thing in the morning I would go put feed and water in the field, lead her out, and close the fence behind her.

One morning as I'm walking back into my house, I hear a weird sound behind me. The sound of hooves on linoleum.

She looked as surprised as I was that I had brought her into my kitchen. Luckily, she never told anyone so my secret is still safe.

Brain Autopilot factsHuffington Post

18. Nicely Done!

Answered my cell phone "[911 center] what's the location of your emergency?"

Makes my spouse laugh, my friends roll their eyes and scares the heck out of telemarketers.

12 hour night shifts are not much fun.

Brain Autopilot factsGovernment Technology

17. I Think You Really Caught a Break There

I'm a security guard for Amazon and I have to do bathroom checks. Caught myself yelling "SECURITY!" right before going to the restroom at a bar on my day off. Thank God it was empty.

Brain Autopilot factsNearSay

16. Accidental Criminal

I filled my car with gas and, when I got home, realized that I had not paid. I went back to the station and told the clerk what I had done. She thought she was missing a payment but the station was really busy at the time so she wasn't exactly sure. I paid for my stolen gas and went about my way.

I also walked into the convenience store next to my work, grabbed a Gatorade out of the cooler and walked out the door. I realized what I did when I got back to work. Went back and paid for that, too.

In other words, I steal things.

Brain Autopilot factsWild 104

15. When You’re Thirsty, You’re Thirsty!

My wife and I were dying some Easter eggs and drinking wine this past Saturday night and I watched her take a big swig out of orange. There was an egg in the cup and everything.

Brain Autopilot factsTLC

14. It’s Hard to Undo That One…

Cleaning up my face with electric clippers. Thought, "Oh, missed a spot," and proceeded to shave off my freaking eyebrow.

Brain Autopilot facts

13. Don’t Take Your Job Home With You

I used to work for a sandwich store, so I was very used to "pizza sub" meaning pepperoni. One day I went to a pizza place on my break and repeatedly told them I wanted a “pizza” pizza, and got very annoyed that they kept asking what kind of pizza I wanted.

Don't worry, I kind of knew the cashier and we had a good laugh about it.

Brain Autopilot factsGettyImages

12. Pay Attention, People!

Opening a Mozzarella cheese stick for my daughter, threw away the actual cheese stick and gave her the wrapper.

Brain Autopilot factsAcor3.it

11. Two For the Price of One

I have two:

1. Walking to work on a very straight path through a nature reserve. I fell asleep and sleepwalked for about ten mins. It was so weird, I blinked and suddenly appeared near the end of my journey.

2. Got into my car with coffee and a newspaper. Carefully held the rolled-up newspaper whilst hurling the coffee onto the passenger seat.

Brain Autopilot factsUlmers Auto Care

10. I Was Wondering Why My Sandwich Was So Crunchy Today…

I grabbed my "lunch" on my way out the door for work in the morning.

I kept wondering what that beeping noise was the whole drive there. Couldn't figure it out.

Got to work and grabbed my lunch, only to realize I had actually grabbed the baby monitor.

Brain Autopilot factsgentlenursery

9. Welcome to the Real World

I went to a high school in the early '90s where smoking in the bathrooms between classes was very, very common, even though it was punishable by an $80 fine. You were required to say "it's cool" when entering the bathroom or kids would assume you were a teacher and put their cigarettes out. Not doing so could get your butt whooped. Like most kids in my school I became so used to it that it was second nature...

I got a job in IT immediately after leaving high school, in a nice office building where I had to wear a tie. I'll never forget walking into the bathroom and loudly saying "it's cool," and the president of the company saying "what's cool?" with a confused look on his face. I just stood there like a dope for a second, and then made up something about it being part of a song. I'm sure he thought I was a weirdo after that.

Brain Autopilot factsWeb Musing

8. Sometimes It Feels Like You’re Just Going Around In Circles

My dog eats in my room, which is across the house from the kitchen, and she gets a mix of wet and dry food that I mix up with a fork.

So I get her wet food, get halfway to my room, realize I've forgotten the fork. Go back to the kitchen, get a fork, get halfway back to my room and realize I've forgotten the food. Go back to the kitchen, set the fork down, forget entirely what I'm doing, go back to my room to a very sad and confused puppy. Pour her dry food into her bowl, go to the kitchen, leave the bowl on the counter and go turn on the TV. Walk back in 15 minutes later, see the bowl, fork and food sitting on the counter, feel like a dunce and apologize to the puppy. Repeat 2-3 times a week.

Brain Autopilot factsDogtopia

7. The Joke’s On You!

Once while playing an intense board game, I was concentrating so hard that my buddy realized that he could just hand random things to me and I'd take them and put them in my jacket pocket or place them on the table in front of me. I only realized when I ran out of space to put things.


Brain Autopilot factsTekCrispy

6. Communication Trouble

In college I had a fair number of all nighters and usually had the TV going to help keep me up and help with concentration. Once a couple weeks after submitting an essay for a political science class I noticed that the message I sent with it to my professor went something like: "attached is my water for Italian cooking." My essay was completely fine and had nothing to do with Italy. I guess my brain just turned off as soon as I'd attached the paper and there must have been some cooking related infomercial on TV while I sent it.

Brain Autopilot factsTheQuestion

5. Maybe Inside Jokes Should Be Kept Inside

My husband and I had an inside joke. Whenever someone lost something, the other person always asked, "have you checked inside your butt?"

I was in a meeting at work (conservative and traditional corporate office) one day and a coworker said, "I can't find my pen." Without any thought or hesitation I quickly responded, "have you checked inside your butt?" As soon as I said it, I snapped back to reality and realized I was at work. As you can imagine, everyone went silent and stared at me as my face turned bright red.

Brain Autopilot facts

4. Some Habits Can Be Good!

I sleepwalk once in a while. Recently I got up at 2am and fed the dog. My girlfriend woke up and was like "wtf, did you just feed the dog? What time is it?"

Apparently, I looked her in the eye and said "everyone loves a midnight snack."

Brain Autopilot facts

3. Say It Isn’t So!

Loaded up my toothbrush with toothpaste and proceeded to brush my hair with it instead of my teeth.

Brain Autopilot factsAustralian Skin Clinics

2. One Big Happy Family

Was on the phone with my boss and she was getting really irritated about something, I don't even remember what. The combination of her irritation and my exhaustion made my brain misfire, and I ended the call with "okay bye bye Mom, I love you!" I was so embarrassed but she thought it was hilarious and started calling me her adopted daughter after that. I mean, she is the same age as my mom so it's not too weird, but I certainly felt like a child around her instead of a colleague until she left the company. I miss her :(

Brain Autopilot facts

1. Kind of An Important Detail There...

Woke up early Monday morning in a bit of a panic. I had forgot to buy cat food the day before. The cat must be starving. I hurry and get ready for work. I plan a detour to the store to buy the cat food. On the drive there I'm planning my run into the store and I realize I don't know what aisle the food is in. How could I not remember what aisle the cat food is in? Then it hits me. I don't have a cat. I haven't had one for several years.

Brain Autopilot factsTwitter

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