Like most people, I jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon as soon as they came out. I enjoyed playing with the thing for the first few days. Every time one of the build in messages of encouragement came on, I dutifully jumped up (I mean, that metaphorically) and walked (struggled) around the room as well as I could.
After a few days, I wasn’t surprised any more when the insistent little beast began to send me threatening messages almost every hour. The demanding thing prodded me over and over again – “time for a walk”, “let’s get up and move”. As I ignored the messages, I think the poor thing eventually developed a personality disorder … low self-esteem or some such thing.
The problem was the cartilage in my knee joints was gone and the pain of walking made me quite capable of ignoring the beast completely. I was lucky to get 1000 steps in a day and that was largely because the parking lot was a long way from my office. After I had my first knee surgery, finished 8 weeks of rehab and returned happily to work, I decided to rebuild my relationship with the sorrowful creature.
I dutifully did my best every day to push a bit further; 1200 steps, 1800, 2000, but I still wasn’t getting anywhere near the 10,000 steps goal on any given day. Clearly, rebuilding this one’s ego was going to take some work. Then I realized the problem. I was using a roll-a-tor (a type of walker with a seat) to strengthen my knees and walk faster and further every day. My hands were resting on the handle bars as I walked.
The Fitbit on my wrist wasn’t registering the number of steps I took because my arms weren’t swinging in the natural walking action. What to do? What to do! I decided that I’d put my Fitbit on my ankle.
Great idea, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. That way I’d get a better accounting of the number of steps I took daily. Sure enough, I was up to nearly 5000 steps the first day. I was so pleased with myself and looking forward to the coming days.
The day after I hit 5000 steps for the first time, I had a first grade class come into the library for story time. As usual, I sat in a chair and the children sat on the carpet in front of me. We always chatted for a while before getting down to reading the story. This particular class hadn’t been in to see me since I’d returned from my eight week leave of absence. They asked all sorts of questions – where had I been, what did I do, how did I feel. They told me how much they missed me and even asked if I had a scar. I didn’t lie to them, but I refused to show them my battle scars.
One little darling kept fiddling with the hem on my pants. After running my hand down my pant leg and gently pushing her hand away a couple times, I finally asked her to please stop because she was tickling me. She looked up with sweet eyes, smiled and said she just wanted to look at the thing on my leg. I realized she was talking about the Fitbit.
Thinking nothing of it, I lifted my pant leg slightly prepared to explain why I had my Fitbit there instead of on my arm. The little darling leaned in and took a very close look. Then she looked up at me with an even bigger grin and said, Yup! That’s just like the one my daddy got when he came home from jail!”
Several seconds passed before I realized that she thought the Fitbit was a police ankle monitor. I swallowed my laughter and quickly picked up the book we were going to enjoy. I was still enjoying the laugh way too much when I explained what had happened to my clerk and we both laughed.
All day long, I gave in to giggles several times when I remembered the happy look on the child’s face or shared the story with someone else. My Fitbit, after being mistaken for a criminal’s monitor, has not spoken to me since. I think my uproarious laughter further demoralized the poor beastie. Some creatures just have no sense of humor.