Step away from the keyboard – Writing doth make me sedentary.
So it was my birthday this year and my other half (who I shall refer to as The Canadian from here on in) bought me the obligatory present. It was about two months late but that is a whole other blog and an ongoing relationship counselling case.
The Canadian’s gift to me was one of those watch thingies that count your steps, monitor your heart rate and tell you point blank (almost) that NO, you cannot eat the entire packet of Tim Tams.
Here is my tormentor – the Garmin Vivoactive HR.
Looks innocuous enough. So smooth and black and shiny. Pleasant design, easy-to-read screen, what could go wrong? This could be fun, right?
Sure, if fun was Boot Camp on a winter morning. Which it is not. This little black rectangle of smug statistical-ness (it’s a word cause I say so) is the nemesis of all things fun. Mr Watchy has NO concept of what it is to be an….
He does not, in his plastic and wire bubble, understand that greatness will only come with long hours of butt-to-chair goodness. This thing, this so called gift, does not care that I actually enjoy losing track of hours while playing with my imaginary friends. And he does not, I have discovered, accept tapping fingertips to keys as a viable form of exercise.
Curse you and the box you came out of, Mr Watchy.
In fairness I guess there is a suggestive hint in the name of the thing – Active– which suggests some movement will be required to keep Mr Watchy happy. I should have been ready. I should have been prepared for the onslaught. Because Mr Watchy wants not just some movement, but a lot. Like getting off your butt on a very, very regular basis and moving. Putting those feet one in front of the other until the little red bar of disappointment on Mr Watchy’s face pulls back and leaves me the HELL ALONE.
SO MUCH MOVING.
SO MANY STEPS. Why little black rectangle of incessant reminding, WHYYYYYY!
I’ve got it good at the moment (do not tell The Canadian I am saying this) but I’ve got a lot of support at home to get this damn writing thing underway. Get it out there. Earn a buck or two. So I have a lot of days where I can spend the whole day writing. Whole damn day.
But Mr Watchy doesn’t care. His smug, yet indifferent, glass face shows no sign of the joy he must surely be taking in this. But I feel it. I feel it in the grasp of the neither-hot-nor-cold rubber strap on my wrist, and the blink of that weird little green light on the underside of the watch face which is probably sending mind controlling signals into my nervous system as we speak.
In fact, I know it is because I cannot say no to my new overlord. I am longing – longing! I tell you – to see the little pitter-patter of tiny feet across the screen – my reward for hitting target. Look at them….they are soooo adorable. I only have to do 9873 steps today and I’ll see them. Totes worth it.
I can write that query letter later on. Wasn’t feeling it for editing today anyway. I need to STEP, goddamn it.
Mr Watchy beckons. He wants more. He truly cares for me. He does not want me to be found dead in my chair, with certain parts of my anatomy melded to the seat. An unfinished manuscript blinking on the screen. Ten packets of chewing gum never growing moldy beside the keyboard. Cups of cold herbal tea actually regrowing the plants they were made from. Twitter pleading for my return. Scribophile waiting with bated breath for a new chapter to critique. All those rejection letters clogging up my Inbox. The empty chair at the ‘Write a Novel in 2 Hours‘ course. The beta readers waiting on my no-doubt brilliant feedback on their manuscripts.
Mr Watchy does not want that for me.
And I do not want to waste ten packets of chewing gum (so long as they are not spearmint) so I will do this. I will walk. And write. I will find a way to merge the two things together, like some impossible but beautiful Butter-phant. Or Ele-fly. Or whatever the hell this thing is….
And I will know something that Mr Watchy is too busy being smarmy to know. His battery does not last forever. And Tim Tams are on sale at the local store right now.
Funny. Very funny.
A word in Mr. Watchy’s defense is that he’s right! Sitting down, apparently, can kill you. Almost anything can kill you, but sitting down is more dangerous than poison, knives and guns combined.
I favor the standing desk – which in my case is my laptop on top not of my lap, but an upturned box on my desk. I spend hours standing as I write with that simple system. Two brisk walks a day deal with the steps.
A good walk is the mother of good thinking, as I often point out. And bums don’t write books – brains do. And brains need oxygen. So exercise is the thing.
Makes for a better writer who has a chance of living longer and writing more.
Thanks Austin! Sounds like you are all over the sedentary problem.
I’m an admin worker in my other life and the combination of two desk jobs is quite frightening healthwise. I’ve been very flippant about Mr Watchy in this blog but to be honest its great! And it really does help you see how much you need to move. I’m pretty active normally, but this keeps me on my toes. The calorie counting that goes with it is so interesting too. I’m not going to count calories forever but its been great to get perspective in the interim.
I once laughed at the standing desk (having seen it a few times in various jobs I did) but I have changed my tune. They are a fantastic idea. And I love your version of one! Cost efficient and practical.
I’m glad I changed my mind about buying one! Mostly because I had no money, but who needs all that extra pressure, lol. I have my trainer watching over me on FB. That’s enough 😃
Mr Watchy also tells you when you die for short periods in your sleep…for that useful fact alone he is worth every obligatory birthday present cent!
He is eerily good at that!! I would love to know where I go when that happens.
Maybe someone should tell The Canadian to buy you a walking desk for your next birthday? Yeah, someone might actually do that. I think Mr Walking Desk and Mr Watchy would get along just fine 🙂
A walking desk – omg I love it!
OR you could get a dictaphone and wander round the house while you ‘type’…..
Folks, you do realize that some insane designer/marketing guy has read this secretly via a proxy IP server and is now actually burning the midnight oil inventing the jogging desk?
To paraphrase Victor Frankenstein, “OMG! What have we done?”