Do you ever forget how to walk down stairs?

Ever have one of those moments when your body doesn’t quite line up with what your brain is telling it to do? This often happens when I overthink something - for example, going down a flight of stairs quickly when for some reason I start to think about how my feet are moving, and I lose track and have to pause to get everything lined up again correctly.

Anyway, I was joking around with my husband last night about how I’d gotten all discombobulated and forgotten how to kiss, and made a reference to the stair thing. He claims that not only has he never done something like that, he’s never even heard of it, and her challenged me to back up my assertion that “seriously, this happens to people all the time!” by querying the Dope.

So, what say ye, Dope? Happens all the time? Never heard of it? Something in between?

It has happened to me as well.
Not all of the time, which is fortunate since I live in a two story house.
And I don’t have one of those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” devices.

Stair rails. Need to remember to buy stair rails.

So tell your husband that he is wrong. Wrong I tell you! <shakes fist>
Tell him that some semi-anonymous guy on the Internet told you so.

Never. The only thing that I can sort of relate to with this is that if you asked me I could not properly describe how to the perfect windsor knots with my tie. But if I stick on around my neck, muscle memory just kicks in.

So maybe you just have no muscle memory. Are you athletic at all or were you as a kid?

I voted yes, but there’s a slight difference to what was mentioned in the OP. I don’t necessarily forget the mechanics, but suddenly my brain refuses to recognize that there’s still one more step at the bottom of the stairs. This usually only happens when I’m tired, but I’ll abruptly think that I can just step all the way down to the bottom, which sometimes results in me either coming down really hard on the middle step or almost falling because I skip it.

Edited to add that this only really happens when I’m exceptionally distracted or very, very tired.

It’s the best kind of proof!

Nope, total spaz. I think the muscle memory thing is apt - my problem is when I start trying to analyze the muscle memory instead of just performing the action on autopilot.

Yes, of course this happens. Overthinking anything where muscle memory is commom can result in complete confusion. Isn’t it pretty well documented?

Then there was the time I not only forgot how to walk down stairs, I forgot that I had stairs. Took a header and broke both of my feet.

If it is physical I never overthink it, I just do it. So, no it has never happened to me. I have absolute faith in my abilities and just trust them.

I occasionally forget how to swallow. Usually I need to actually take a drink of water and force the issue. Very annoying.

I also forget how to swallow sometimes. And breathe! :eek: I can’t focus on my breathing for very long or I start messing up the whole rhythm.

The phrasing of your poll is slightly biased :slight_smile: I know plenty of spazzes, and have managed to break my leg while kicking a ball… but I’ve never had any issue with stairs (when sober).

I’m with your husband… this is as foreign of a concept as if you asked if you ever just forget how to walk. Going up or down stairs is pretty much walking… just up or down. I never over think it because I never think about it, period. I learned to walk around 2 and never forgot how.

Wow, I think you win the thread.

My home has 6 levels and if I forgot how to use stairs I might be trapped for a long time.

Tying a tie is something I can’t think about. I also can’t do it while looking in a mirror (which causes me to think about it).

More dramatically, this reminds me of the phenomenon of major league pitchers who “forget how to pitch,” like Steve Blass. This American Life did a story on it a while back. Thinking about something that ought to be muscle memory was, as I recall, theorized to be a big part of the problem.

It’s weird that we take it for granted so much. After my father had his stroke, he had to learn to swallow all over again.

This has happened to me a couple of times. Not just with stairs. Sometimes I’ll be walking along and I’ll get this feeling that somehow I’ll forget to know how to walk. Like for a split second my mind will go “What if instead of taking a step your leg just stops or jams and you topple over?” Very strange. Its never actually happened so I don’t know why I would think that.

This happens to me sometimes too. It’s like I KNOW there’s another step there, but my brain refused to acknowledge it so I try to skip and end up either slipping or coming down hard.

Reminds me of the comic strip (it was either Garfield or Peanuts–I forget) where somebody asks Garfield/Snoopy how he remembers whether he walks by moving both same-side feet at the same time or alternating, and the last panel is him just standing still with a “damn you!” kind of punchline.

Along with the stairs, there’s the occasional forgetting about escalators - the getting on and off, not the standing still and riding.

I’m another who can’t concentrate too much on my breathing or I throw the rhythm off. And I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of right now.

I end up going up and down many irregular stair cases. So anytime I’m confronted with stairs I pause even though there is no need to on that particular set.

Huh. Never. I’ll trip like clumsy fool sometimes, but its not anything I ever think about. I just fly up or down the stairs. I’ll usually skip a step, even, and climb stairs two at a time.

Stair Olympics!

I haven’t forgotten how to walk on stairs (yet), but I sometimes forget how to drive, especially with a manual transmission. It usually happens at a stoplight while I’m waiting for the green. I’ll suddenly think, “Crap! Do I let the clutch out and then use the gas or vice versa? Which one’s the brake and which one’s the clutch?” Etc., etc. Of course, then the light turns green and physical memory saves the day.