I knew this would happen. Last month, I told you that, like everyone else, I was trying to add steps to my daily rounds. Sadly, this project seems to have gotten a little out of hand.
“Get moving!” the experts said, and they set out a challenge–10,000 steps a day.
“You’d be surprised,” they continued, “just how many steps you already take in a day.” Perhaps, but they might be surprised to see the level of neuroses their challenge has set in motion. I’m a goal-oriented person, a list maker, a quantifier. If the task is 10,000 steps, then by golly, that’s what they’re going to get. Never mind the fact that I don’t know where the number came from. A step/calorie scientist? Some feng-shui step-stride guru? It doesn’t matter. The number is 10,000. It shall not be 9,998, nor 9,997, and 9,996 is right out. Step lively, my friends.
My inner caretaker at least stepped in to warn me against purchasing one of those step-counting gadgets that you strap to your wrist. I don’t need an alarm to go off when I’m sedentary for too long, like some mental cattle prod. I goad myself just fine, thank you very much. There’s nothing guilt-inducing you could say to me that I haven’t already said to myself.
Nope, no wristband. I resolved to do the counting in my head, which is trying desperately now to find space for this continuous computation because there truly are steps everywhere. Oh sure, I could have simply walked around the track until I reached the magic number, but that’s for amateurs. Much more Type A to log in steps while doing actual activities, so you see, I am counting all day long. ALL DAY LONG.
It’s 36 steps to the mailbox. Return to the house and that’s 72. There are 228 steps involved in refilling the bird feeders if I add a suet cake, 192 if not. My birds have gotten a lot of suet lately.
I log in 48 steps for each grocery store aisle; times 16 aisles, that’s 768 steps. Of course, that means that I have to go down the dog food aisles even though I no longer have a dog, but that’s okay. It’s all about the steps.
One lap around the actual track is 235 steps. That’s also the number of steps it takes to get to my car if I park in the middle section. If I move one row back, that adds another 10. Each parking space is four steps, so if I park my car in the far end of the parking lot, I could be at 1,000 steps before I ever hit the track.
I’m taking a risk telling you this because if the rest of the step-counting public latches onto this tactic, I’ll have to fight for my far-flung slot. The spaces around back next to the dumpsters will be prime real estate. Only the woefully uninformed will park up front, the uninformed and those who have already completed their steps for the day.
I don’t know, but maybe those counter wristbands play some kind of victory song when you reach the 10,000 step goal, maybe some glitzy little lights flash for the rest of the day. It won’t be long before people will be flashing their wrist flashiness, creating a flash and flash-not class division, motivating some computer genius to create an app that circumvents the system and makes the lights flash with no stepping at all.
Not that I’d buy it. Not at first.
I think I need a 12-step program.