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We Have a Hostage Situation

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Fitbit…aka: Richard

I am being held hostage. My captor is unyielding, unfeeling, and diligent. I answer to him daily.

Now, before you call the police or send in a hostage negotiator, let me put your mind at ease. I am not in danger. I am actually free to come and go as I please, but my little master goes with me. Oh yes. He is with me 24/7.

I am officially in servitude to an amazing little piece of technology called Fitbit. I received it as a gift from Jim for Christmas and it’s a great gift. It’s the gift that can put you on the road to better health, and better awareness of how well you do, or do not, care for your body.

I have named my Fitbit Richard because yes, I do actually name everything, and Fitbit makes me feel as though I have a tiny Richard Simmons strapped to my wrist cheering me on when I make good choices and chastising me in a perky way when I don’t. It’s a creepy mental picture, I know. Someone with mad Photoshop skills will undoubtedly latch on to that thought and bring it to doctored photographic reality.

Anyhow, Richard tracks a lot of stuff for me. He tracks how many steps I take per day. My goal is 10,000—his idea, not necessarily mine. I have literally found myself striding back and forth in my house in my pajamas just to be sure I hit my number-of-steps goal for the day. Is that dedication or just a little sad?

Richard also tracks how much of my daily activity is “very active,” verses, say, a stroll in the park. So apparently it’s not enough that I take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, some of them need to be at a get-that-heart-rate-moving pace. He and I don’t always agree on these stats, but who am I to question Richard?

He knows how much I weigh (I told him…he has a way of inspiring brutal honesty, though he apparently can figure it out too, so no lying!). He knows how much I’d like to weigh. He has a plan for getting me there. I think he can even track my body fat ratio…I think. I have yet to explore that feature and I’m not entirely sure I want to.

He tells me how many calories I burn per day. He has established the number of calories I am allowed to have daily if I would like to meet my weight and fitness goals. He and I don’t really agree on these numbers either, but again, who am I to argue with Richard?

He tells me how much water I SHOULD drink daily, and together we track my actual consumption. He does not track how much Diet Dr. Pepper I drink daily. I think I actually hear a little sigh of frustration emitting from my wrist bracelet every time I take a sip of my guilty pleasure nectar. I just pull my sleeve down to cover him and drink away. Sometimes Richard needs to take a hike himself.

Fitbit Richard also tracks my sleep patterns. This one has been interesting/nerve-wracking for me. I tap Richard on his face (and yeah, I take a little pleasure in smacking him around a bit) until he does a little light pattern to show that he understands I’m going to bed. He then, somehow, knows how long it takes me to fall asleep. Richard also knows how many times I wake up during the night, how many minutes of my sleep are restless, how much of my sleep is deep sleep.

I’m just praying he doesn’t divulge how many times I have to make a trip to the bathroom. Surely SOMETHING is sacred in our relationship? What if there are Fitbit chat rooms and Richard and his Fitbit friends get together and giggle over their hostages’ stats?

So now, when I go to bed, it’s not the deep sigh, tell the body parts to relax, tell the overly-active mind to shut up for a few hours normal routine. No. Now, thanks to Richard, I am in a panic to fall asleep. I’m literally trying to force shutdown so my stats will look good the next day. Ugh. I think I may be missing the point of Richard’s assistance on this one. I even curse myself if I wake up in the night because I know Richard knows. “Tsk, tsk…” I imagine him saying. “If you had put in more VERY ACTIVE minutes, perhaps you would be sleeping better. Just suggesting…” Damn it Richard. Just shut up.

You know, when I think about it, it’s more than appropriate that  I received Richard as a Christmas gift because he may actually be related to Santa Claus.

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake,
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

But seriously, modern technology is Santa-Claus amazing to me. Half the time I can only sidestep my frustrated lack of understanding of it, by just accepting that it’s magic.

Magic indeed. I’m so grateful I’m here to witness an era that allows me to talk to my Jeep and actually get a verbal response. I can search out facts and information on the internut (sic) in a matter of moments.  I can have an entire conversation with a friend on my smart phone without uttering a single word. By the way, my ninth grade typing teacher would be so proud of my finely honed texting skills. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog…the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog…repeat, repeat. If you understand that sentence, then you too took a typing class once upon a time. If you don’t get it, then you’re young and were likely proficient with a keyboard by your first birthday. Good for you.

I am from an era when we used to have to actually get up and walk over to the television to change the channel…selecting between the three or four stations that were available as long as the antennae was pointing in the right direction. I used to have to open my car windows by turning a little crank on the door around in circles. Yes, REALLY. Phones were attached to the wall and you had to put your finger in little holes on a dial and then make tiny circles to call someone. If you wanted to send mail, you had to actually write a message out longhand, on real paper, and then walk the letter out to the mailbox to send it, knowing the recipient would not receive it for a few days at best.

But now? Well, now I have Richard. Ironically, Richard would have loved the “good old days.” I am pretty sure all of that dialing, walking, channel-changing, letter-writing, window-cranking stuff would have burned at least a few of my daily calories.

Oh technology, you are a double edged sword. Thank goodness Richard is here to keep me honest and keep me moving. Ok. Have to sign off now or I’ll never get all 10,000 steps in today.

Yes, Richard. OK, Richard. I hear you.  I’m on it.