It was only three or four steps to get to the bathroom when I woke up, late, Sunday morning. The grey light trying to force its way in through the blinds, the cat looping acrobatically beneath my drowsy gait.
Since Christmas, I’ve been wearing a FitBit Force on my wrist, tracking every move I make with it’s fancy digital pedometer and accelerometer and altimeter and estimated calorie-burn computer and alarm clock and sleep timer. A trip to the bathroom in the morning becomes a matter of consequence, a record of competition. The conservation of my physique is now the ward of a few megabytes, transferred via low-energy Bluetooth.
The gadget comes programmed to push me towards 10,000 steps as a daily goal, so I’m following its request, making the effort to walk at least five miles as often as possible. I’ve hit the 10k mark twelve times in January. My highest count of 17 thousand came on the first of the year, as my girlfriend and I stumbled through a 5k ‘hair of the dog‘ race, early in the morning.
On a typical day, if I drive to work, take the stairs, pace around the hall, and then come home to cook dinner and couch loaf, five to six thousand steps is an average number. If I wake up on a Saturday and watch four episodes of Breaking Bad, I’m lucky to hit 3,500. Walking to please a robot is my new errand.
This past Sunday, I deposited myself in a reading position, after my morning ablutions, eggs, and trip to the balcony to gauge the temperature. Another day under twenty degrees Fahrenheit would keep me restless without recourse.
I made lunch around noon, and realized I could kind of dance around and walk in place while the water boiled. A minute or two of that was good for seventy five or eighty steps. I picked up another 200 mid-afternoon, when I decided it was high time to run the vacuum cleaner. By five p.m., I was still shy of 2,000 for the day.
Sunset approached and a pile of indoor things sat waiting to entertain me, so it didn’t look like ten thousand (much less fifteen) would happen.
Fed up with my sedation at six p.m., I rousted myself, determined to make my daily effort. I bundled up and set out for a treadmill.The first mile only took me to six thousand steps. I haven’t run five miles in several months, but the wristband gave me my orders, and I followed.
After hitting ten thousand on the treadmill, and rewarding myself with a drink, I looked at the couch, considered my options, and figured what the hell… A late evening trip to the supermarket for bananas wouldn’t hurt my cause.
I stepped out again, into the cold night, my tiny cyborg companion blinking lovingly beneath my sleeve.