My sister Trish gave me a Fitbit for my birthday. That was nearly two months ago, and, on Saturday, I finally got around to setting it up.
But by the time I got around to setting it up, it was nearly 6 p.m. And dark. And cold. So I was pretty much going to put it away and worry about stepping out on Sunday. Yet there it sat, gracing my wrist, staring at me, daring me to get up and take a few more steps than the three-step venture to the bathroom.
I did “need” a new set of guest towels, as I realized a few weeks back when I pulled out some towels that were nearly 35 years old. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. Still…
Anyway, with a destination in mind, I set out to see if I could get my 10,000 steps in.
First a note on the 10,000 steps. Forget what you hear about 10,000 steps being the default. I’m here to tell you that if you’re of a certain age, the recommend that you start out with a more meager quotient o 8,000. Not me! I’m not pussy-footing around here! I upped for the full “normal person” 10,000.
By the time I was out the front door, the first little light of mine was shining. (When all 5 light up, you’ve reached your goal.) Since I’d only taken a couple of dozen steps at that point, I figured that first light must be the trophy for showing up. When I got to Mass Ave – which I knew was a bit over a mile – I was up to 2 lights. That, I felt, I’d earned. I thought that I’d hit 3 about the same time that I hit the store, but no dice. Still languishing on 2 lights.
At Bed Bath & Beyond, I did my towel shopping and picked up a few more items because, let’s face it, it’s virtually impossible to escape from BB&B without picking up a few more items.
Although I like to walk, I will acknowledge that pre-Fitbit me might have taken the T home – what with the heavy, awkward bag and all. And the T stop is just outside the BB&B door. No more than 40-50 steps, I’ll estimate.
But I was damned if I was going to settle for the lousy 3 lights I might have achieved if I’d taken the T and walked home from the Arlington T stop.
So I continued on home, shank’s mare. To make things more interesting, I usually walk out on the residential streets, but, if it’s night, I walk down Newbury or Boylston, which are busy: shops, bars, and restaurants. But it’s one thing to walk Newbury or Boylston - on a going-out night, when the sidewalks are thronged with people doing stuff together with other people - with both arms swinging. Why, I could be on my way to meet friends. Or on my way to meet that special someone who, alas (or not) does not (yet) exist. But someone with a beret pulled down over her ears, shod with sneakers (however bright and funky those hot pink laces and soles look against the dark blue vamp), and carrying a large bag from BB&B that, from the shape of it, can only be holding towels, is clearly announcing to the world: old lady on some weird mission from God to head out on a Saturday night to buy towels. Little would the world know that I was actually on a mission from Fitbit to get those 10,000 steps in.
So, once I got passed the glare and hubbub of Kenmore Square, where I wasn’t even tempted to get on the T, I kept to the unpeopled residential Comm Ave. It could have been 2 a.m. for all the people I passed. And, as I become increasingly more Fitbitter, it may well be 2 a.m. when I find myself out and about trying to fit my steps in.
On my walk back, it didn’t take me long to start griping to myself (internally – I’m not yet an old lady walking-mutterer) about how I should be earning more steps, given that I was now carrying a heavy and awkward bag. In truth, the bag was not all that heavy. I weighed it when I got home: 7lbs. and change. But it was awkward, and, halfway home, when I checked the Fitbit – I was now up to 4 glowing lights – my back was starting to ache.
As I dragged the last few blocks home, I was talking myself (again: interior monologue) into dumping the bag full of towels, and heading back out to Whole Food for a dozen eggs, dried pineapple, and – perhaps – some Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Fro-Yo. Then, just as I’d dropped the towel bag on the foyer floor, the Fitbit started to vibrate.
Congratulations! I’d hit my goal of 10,000 steps.
Now 10,000 steps is supposed to roughly translate into 5 miles. But in my case, I would have been kidding myself if I accepted that figure. The walk from my house to Bed Bath & Beyond and back is a little over 4 miles. To get my 5 miles in, I would have had to go to Whole – a half-mile walk or so each way.
But I decided to content myself with having reached the magic 10,000 step number.
I can see where this can get to be addictive. I’m already worried about how I’m going to hit my goal on a crappy weather day…