Ritual good, habit bad

We're all creatures of habit. We are two sugars. We are the window seat on the bus. We are frayed fingernails and a tiny tilt of the head, sex on top and M&S boy shorts down below, The Wire on Wednesdays and medium rare, cobbled into a composite and wrapped in a distinctive pelt. Coasting along the Salt Ways of sentience, we daily slide down neural pathways worn as smooth and broad as a good time girl's gusset in our mental march towards an efficient life. Of course, coasting on automatic is a sensible species survival strategy; it frees up our brain power for the important shit like inventing watches made out of skin and watching Marley and Me. nun1

When played out as self-conscious ritual, routine becomes beautiful: a perpetuating meme of meaning in a throwaway world. The problem is, custom quickly becomes comforting crack. Routine rolls into rut. Habit of doing is tempting enough, but habit of thinking is as syrupy strong and seductive as a White Russian stunning your brain.

I thought something very slightly different today, which made me do something very slightly differently too. It stung like bejesus, but I can still feel the synapse stirring with rebellious relish, like an elastic garter snapped against my brain. NLP, CBT: big, bold acronyms give us strength. But it's those persistent, puny little moles of metamorphosis, blinding butting against our mental mountain with pink-nosed bravery, that slowly start to tunnel us a new little passage of choice.

Anyway. Thursday, 2pm. That'll be Abokado's Teriyaki Chicken Udon Noodles in front of the Mad Men rerun, then.