I used to have a pretty interesting, and I’d like to think, a well-balanced life….until October 11, 2013 I was fairly active, I liked to ride a bicycle now and again, I lifted weights, I went out with my wife and friends, and every now and again I’d just take a “mental health” day where I’d basically lay around and watch television, play my guitar and do some reading. I was a fairly happy cat until I got an e-mail back in September from my sister-in-law Michelle. She mentioned that she and several members of our family were purchasing “FitBit” devices to monitor how far we walked. The idea is that if you can keep track of your daily steps and post the numbers in cyberspace so that we could compete in the hope that we’d all walk more and hopefully reverse the aging process, become better looking and perhaps solve global warming by reducing our dependence upon fossil fuels. So I purchased my FitBit at a local sporting goods store on October 11, 2013….the day my life effectively ended.
I’ve been accused of being somewhat competitive and I’ve always regarded that as a positive attribute given that I earn my income trying to convince juries that my opponent is wrong. I’m competing all of the time and if I’m being honest, I really enjoy what I do. So it was not completely unexpected that once I started the Fitbit program that I would walk more. What I did not fully understand is that I’d become a prisoner to the rubber band from hell that I have on my wrist.
According to my weekly progress report I walked just over 63 miles last week and I didn’t really go anywhere. I am part of a group that includes an 82 year old woman, two CEO’s of multi-million dollar companies, three lawyers, a software engineer, a dating web-site developer, a manager of a heavy industrial water works supplier, a pain in the ass bank executive and a clothing buyer. Pretty good company, right? Then why do I view these fine people as enemies who must be crushed? You guessed it, the Fitbit!
I begin every day of my life with a three mile walk usually followed by a sauna where I’ve nearly passed out several times because walking in 128 degree heat is only good if you’re a camel. Since I live outside of Boston and its been unseasonably cold of late, I walk or run most mornings on a treadmill and no matter how hard I try to like it a treadmill is one of the dumbest inventions ever created. To cope with the mind numbing boredom I’ve pretty much erased all of my favorite IPod songs from my “workout” playlist in order to get better walking/running music so I find myself humming Lady Gaga or Rhianna songs all day. I do not like Lady Gaga or Rhianna and I’m not entirely sure why a song about a “Poker Face” was allowed to be made in the first place. Last week I met a fellow attorney for a drink after work and, just my luck, Rhianna’s” Only Girl in The World” was playing, without thinking about it I stood and started walking in place….if I didn’t pick up an additional 300 steps I would really think this is becoming a problem.
Early on in my quest to be the best walker I can be, and of course to crush the spirit of my “fitbit friends”, I walked the 7 ½ miles from my home to my office along some very heavily travelled roads and then back again at the end of the day. It is amazing the shit people throw out of their cars by the way. On the way home a client pulled up and offered a ride with a quizzical look on his face, “hey Mike…is that you? Do you need a ride?” As I politely declined the lift it occurred to me that a normal person might jump to the conclusion that I always arrive at when I see people I know walking along a four lane state road….”Drunk driving conviction”…..But I bagged nearly 40000 steps that day….take that Tim, Michelle and Christine (they are the persistent little buggers always biting at my heels as I walk the earth).
ugggghhh. If I go shopping with my wife on weekends I tend to park in a different zip code from the store and I’ve had to master steering a fully loaded BJ’s Wholesale Club shopping cart with only my non FitBit hand so I can get credit for steps (they are recorded based upon the movement of your arm as you walk). Last week I nearly took down a display of industrial sized breakfast cereal due to a defective wheel. Each week the lawyers I work with and I walk a minimum of 2 ½ miles round trip to lunch every day and when we leave the Courthouse, which is exactly 345 steps from my desk, we intentionally walk “the long way” which is usually a 1200-1400 step walk in rain or biting cold. I’ve decided that it is far better to walk over to the Courthouse rather than call to speak with an attorney or clerk, I find myself running errands for just about everyone, two weeks ago I delivered a settlement check to a lawyer in a pouring rain because my steps were down that day. At the end of the day I usually cap it all off with a second jaunt on the treadmill, with the ever present goal of securing at least 20,000 steps per day. What the hell is wrong with me?
Two minutes ago my wife asked me if I wouldn’t mind walking to the market which is about a mile and a half from the house, I said yes despite the fact that is 28 degrees outside with a stiff breeze bringing the wind chill down to roughly 18 degrees. When she asked me my first thought was not to say “what the f%$#’s wrong with you” it was “Gee, she really is a considerate woman”…So off I go, a brisk walk on the day following Thanksgiving to pick up a loaf of Tuscan style bread so that turkey leftovers can be enjoyed this evening. Hang on a moment, this ought to take no time at all…..OK so I’m back, good walk, the highway wasn’t crowded so crossing was a breeze….note to self….find one of those reflective vests that highway workers wear……and stop wearing paper thin running gloves….
So as I prepare for another week I can think of virtually nothing but how am I going to get my steps in tomorrow and whether my 82 year old mother-in-law will pull an all-nighter and surpass my weekly total. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a wonderful woman with a competitive streak a mile wide and when it comes to a Fitbit challenge, I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her. Stupid Fitbit.