I was eagerly anticipating a bucket list trip to Italy in a few months until the fine folks at the travel agency began to send increasingly ominous emails harping on the need to be able to “walk long distances” and “negotiate steep steps with rough, irregular surfaces. ” Perhaps they misunderstood my desire to visit, which could best be summed up as food and wine consumption and… no, that’s about it.
Even without the irksome warnings about cobblestone streets – can y’all pave those bad boys before I arrive and, also, maybe stop voting for fascists? – I’d considered getting a fitness tracker because I love hearing my fit friends cattily compare how many steps they walk in a day.
Meeting them at the brewery exactly 6,500 steps from my house (true), I listened as they humble-bragged about their step counts.
The fitness tracker doesn’t lie. Their wrists lit up with some mighty impressive graphics proclaiming, for one, the total so far was 12,314. It was only 4 pm
❝Oh, ❞ said my other pal, who bemoaned her 9,667 reading, adding, ❝Well, I was in the hospital yesterday and they told me to take it easy.❞
❝What’s yours so far? ❞ they asked, a trifle too eagerly I thought.
❝Oh, it’s waaaay up there, ❞ I said, changing the subject to something, anything. I held my wrist beneath the high-top so they wouldn’t see the day’s steps so far: 2,433. I know embarrassing. And, yes, I drove to the brewery because the sidewalk contains rough, irregular surfaces. I’ve been told.
❝Lemme see! ” squealed one. ❝Don’t be like my cousin. He strapped his Fitbit to his dog so he could get his 10,000 steps in! ❞
❝That’s crazy! ❞ I said while making a mental note to self: Would this work with my cats ?? I did read about a family that strapped a fitness tracker to their pet hedgehog’s exercise wheel every night to earn insurance discounts at work.
❝Huffington Post❞ reported other clever hacks: attaching the tracker to a windshield wiper and, my favorite, placing it in a sock and tossing it in the dryer for a quick, and, just guessing, lavender scented, 10K.
The things clever folks will do to fool big insurance should be an inspiration to us all, am I right?
It turns out hitting 10,000 steps a day is a Very Big Deal in fitness tracker circles.When you hit the goal, some of the devices begin to buzz your wrist in a way that I’m afraid would feel too much like a defibrillator just to celebrate your accomplishment.
So, it came to pass on the sixth day of the first week, I set about to hit the elusive, annoying 10,000 step goal so beloved by fit folk as a respectable minimum. I raked; I mowed; I weeded; I, of course, walked. And just before midnight I walked the last 500 steps around the sofa, over and over.
I couldn’t wait to see the ❝job well done! ❞ message that would result but, alas, my off-brand fitness tracker simply rolled over to 10,000 and that was that. I think it added: ❝Go to bed, loser.❞
Some people become so obsessed with hitting their 10,000 steps they’ve discovered they can earn steps by sitting on the couch and reading or watching TV whilst waving their arms wildly about, conductor-style. That doesn’t look crazy.
The emails from the travel agency are coming faster and closer together now, like labor pains without the ice chips. There is talk of being able to ❝keep up with the group.❞ Oh, shut up. I can always Uber, right? Stop with the fearmongering.
As Churchill never said, ❝There are those who lead, those who follow and those who bring up the rear which makes the others feel better about themselves so that’s cool.❞
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her di lei at firstname.lastname@example.org.