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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)

TITLE: Auto Pilot Error
By Lisa Keck


Have you ever found yourself staring at your computer screen in confusion because what you typed was not what appeared on the screen? Have you sat back, figured it out and laughed at your error? Have you gone back and repeated the error and found yourself laughing so hard it was difficult to type? I have.

It was an e-mail to my supervisor. I had a question but every time I typed a W, four letters appeared on my screen. I just wanted to type the word ‘will’ but my keyboard wasn’t cooperating. Maybe it was I who wasn’t cooperating.

The supervisor I was attempting to e-mail was the head of the volunteer Braille transcribing group I belonged to. Using a special program on my computer I had been doing some transcribing of a children’s book. What that means is I was imputing the book word for word, punctuation point for punctuation point in Braille format in my computer. The program in my computer makes it so the S-D-F-J-K-L keys act as a Braille keyboard, each representing one dot of the six dot cell.

To transcribe you have to know Braille and use up to six keys at the same time—that’s a full cell. Have you figured out my error yet? I’d been inputting in the Braille program. My e-mail is not connected to the program but my brain still was.

I was in one program typing in a way only understood by another program. My W came out as djkl. W also stands for the word ‘will’ in Braille so my brain was telling my weary fingers to just type a W and then continue on with the question. My fingers tried to do as they were told but my eyes kept seeing jumbled letters so I’d backspace and try again.

Third time was the charm as they say. I realized what I was doing and sat back and laughed at myself. Sitting up straight in my chair I approached the keyboard again to e-mail my supervisor. My fingers typed and up on the screen appeared djkl. I couldn’t believe it! I’d recognized my error but hadn’t corrected it.

When I finished laughing at myself I decided to try again. Again djkl appeared on my screen. I needed a new tactic. I know my keyboard and typing is usually effortless but not that day. That day I needed to type intentionally and with focus.

I had to spell out ‘Will’ in my head and tell my fingers to use the shift key and only type one letter at a time. With intention and focus the word ‘Will’ appeared on the screen. Finally I was on the right track. My brain turned off Braille mode and I could type normally again as I composed my e-mail to my supervisor. Too bad I laughed the question right out of my mind.

Are you living with intention or are you on auto pilot?

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/25/11
That must have been so frustrating... Nice job. God Bless you~
Anita van der Elst08/26/11
Oh, this is good! On more than one level. You’ve taught us a little about how Braille works plus shown us a spiritual truth without being preachy. Well written too.

(I do think you wanted “inputting” rather than “imputing”.)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/09/11
I enjoyed this and could relate to the MC. When I was learning shorthand my brain would transcribe every word. You did a nice job with this.