Conversation with my Fitbit

fitbit2Well.  Look who’s here.

What happened to “Howdy, Jeannine!”

I’ve been sitting here in your desk drawer where you left me.  About four weeks ago.

Really? Has it been that long?

Yes. As a matter of fact, it has. Bitch.

My husband lost his Fitbit, and it sort of sucked the fun out of it when we couldn’t compare steps. I won as soon as I walked from the bed to the bathroom.

So that’s all that matters? Beating your husband? Great attitude you’ve got there. No wonder you never make your 10,000 step goal.

I’m a writer. Writers sit a lot.

Blah, blah, blah, me, me, me. Tell it to someone who gives a shit. Oh look, you’ve walked 600 steps. Let me guess. That’s the distance from the desk to the kitchen. AND you’ve climbed one flight of stairs. That’s as tall as… one effing flight of stairs.

You’re being very mean.

You think that’s mean? I’ve got a bombshell for you. I may have been invisible to you, but your Fitbit scale still speaks to me. Yeah, that’s right girlfriend. I’ve got the goods on you, and I know exactly how many pounds they weigh. I can probably guess where you’re packing them, too. I read your blog, too. Gelato, eh?

Consider me chastened, okay? I’m back. I’ve got you attached to my belt loop. I promise not to leave you behind again.

It’s for your own good.

Okay, that sounds really creepy. Keep that up, and it’s back to the desk drawer you go.

I can’t let you do that, Jeannine.

Don’t look at me that way. It’s a joke. Remember those?

Since when did you develop a sense of humor?

Sometime in the last four weeks. I had nothing better to do.

If I leave you for another four weeks, will you develop some empathy?

Congratulations, Jeannine, you’re 6% of your way to your goal! Six. A big s-i-x.

I take it that’s a no.

Stop talking, start walking. And keep your hands off that desk drawer.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph “255” by Marisa McClellan © 2012 Creative Commons





Conversation with my Fitbit

fitbit2Good morning, Jeannine. Only 9876 steps left towards your daily goal!

Okay. I’ll get right on that.

Your husband already ran this morning.

Have you looked at our stats lately? I could sleep for the next four days and he wouldn’t catch up.

He works.

So do I.

He gets paid.

That’s a low blow.

You don’t send me flowers anymore.

I never sent you any in the first place. You have one built in.

Smooches Jeannine. Get moving!

That’s sort of passive aggressive don’t you think?

You’ve climbed 2 flights of stairs. That’s the equivalent of the world’s largest Tic Tac

Now you’re just being mean. There is no world’s largest Tic Tac. I Googled it.

We don’t talk anymore. It’s like I don’t even exist.*sob*

Look Fitbit, I take you everywhere I go. I check my status during the day and adjust my activity level to make sure I get my steps in. This is what you wanted, isn’t it?

So what you’re saying is that we’re linked at the hip, I nag you and you ignore me, but you might as well do what I say because in the long run I’m right and you’re better off?

Yes, I suppose you could say that.

I’ve become your mother! I feel so special.

Mine bakes cookies.

Then you really better get moving.  *hugs* Call me later.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Marisa McClellan © 2012 Creative Commons


Excuse me, but these pounds are not mine

scaleWhen the dude runs down the stairs yelling “Mom” while laughing, it’s generally not a good thing. Particularly if my husband is following close after, and he’s laughing as well.

“I wanted to see what I weighed, so I used your scale. Hahahahahaha!”


My husband got a scale that talks to the Fitbit. I’m starting to think the Fitbit is more trouble than it’s worth. Then again, it provides me with so much writing material, how could I give it up?

The Fitbit scale tracks weight and body fat and sends loving messages to my phone to let me know when I’ve done well.  It’s the kind of scrutiny that I’d divorce my spouse over–or at least withhold sex. The problem is that it’s insensitive in every sense of the word.  Rather than sensing that it’s me, because I have my Fitbit with me, it guesses who is standing on it based on weight.

My son is six inches taller and five pounds lighter than me. He has the body fat of a stinkbug. Does it occur to the scale that I couldn’t have lost five pounds in three hours and cut my body fat by 2/3? No, it can’t. So my phone starts buzzing as my Fitbit account begins to send me congratulations.

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve lost another five pounds! You’ve earned another badge!

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve lost ten pounds total! You’ve earned another badge!

Congratulations Jeannine! You’ve exceeded your weight loss goals! You’ve earned another badge!

Time to set new weight goals Jeannine!

My husband and my son find this hilarious, because they know how my mind works. I will feel guilty that I haven’t earned these accolades. I will bemoan the five pound gain next time I step on the scale, even though I weigh exactly the same as I did this morning. I’m so grateful that I don’t share data with anyone other than my husband (and the wisdom of that is debatable as well) because that would make my humiliation complete.

I skulk to my computer to delete the latest weight entry, and wonder how their program works. Will the Fitbit take the badges back?

We retract our congratulations, Jeannine.

How could you lie to me, Jeannine?

I’m disappointed in you, Jeannine.

It’s not my fault Fitbit. It’s yours. You’re the one who misidentified the daddy longlegs that is my son for a 48 year-old woman.  He is a head with limbs attached. I have boobs, okay? This is not that complicated.

Talk to the hand, Jeannine, the scale ain’t listening. Your Fitbit suggests that you get moving. Apparently, you still have weight to lose.

Luckily, my Fitbit dashboard says nothing, but the badges still sit there, making me feel guilty.  It’s like getting something I didn’t buy in my shopping bag. It’s happened before. I took the items back. The customer service at Whole Foods couldn’t figure out why I’d bothered. I’d probably burned more gas than the 3 bars of glycerine soap cost. My decision was not carbon neutral. Something new to feel guilty about.

I will never outgrow my Catholic guilt, any more than I will lose ten pounds. I don’t need to lose ten pounds, but dammit, I will see that unearned badge and feel guilty. My son keeps ribbing me about it, so I tell him that since he’s committed me to losing another five pounds, I won’t buy anything but kale and sparkling water until I get there.

Who’s laughing now sunshine? You want ice with that drink?

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by DavidD © 2012 Creative Commons

A Thousand Mile Markers

mile markerMy marriage almost collapsed during my honeymoon, and it was all because of Mille Bornes. My newly-minted husband and I played a quick game before dinner one evening. He is competitive. I am not. He whupped my ass. I didn’t take it well.

I find competition stressful, not fun. This has always been the case. When I was young, I didn’t play sports and since they don’t hold cage matches for orchestras, I was pretty safe. Now, I still don’t play team sports, and for the most part orchestras are still on the sedate side. I do, however, white-knuckle my way through my son’s games. See? I don’t even like watching other people compete.

The Fitbit has changed everything. For those who haven’t heard of it, the Fitbit is like a pedometer that tracks your activity level. My husband and I both got them for Christmas. You have a dashboard where you can view your progress, and they give you fun little badges as you accrue miles and flights of stairs. It’s great for grade mongers like me who need gold stars.

As a writer, much of my day is sedentary. My break is playing music or reading–not exactly calorie-burners. The Fitbit reminds me that I need to get up and move every so often. Sure, I could go to the gym or run because it’s good for me. Not going to happen. I’ll do it because it’s an easy way to get my 10,000 steps. Running is the optimum choice because our neighborhood has hills–I get credit for both steps and stairs.

The  dashboard not only gives you an overview of your performance, it allows you to connect with friends and see each others’ progress. They say it’s a way to support each other. For some reason, however, it’s not working that way for me. I’m determined to best my husband. Life is good as long as I’m ahead.

He went skiing last week. I was doing a clean food detox. He was all over the place. I was huddled with the cats on the sofa. When he got home he kept taunting me. “I’m 2000 steps ahead. Oh look! Now I’m 3500 steps ahead!”

I wasn’t amused. “You were eating protein and carbohydrates,” I countered.

“Yes, but I was at elevation. It’s more difficult. You know elevation? Oh right, you stayed horizontal the whole weekend.”

It was so on.

Friday, while ironing, I made myself run each shirt upstairs individually, and I was disappointed that we had to do so many squats in weight class. They don’t trigger the Fitbit to register a step. For a class that makes me sweat so much, it should be worth more. No dice. I was still behind. So yesterday, I ran in the cold. Normally, I don’t even leave the house if it’s below 30 degrees out. I put on long underwear and did a chilly, four-mile trek. Take that.

My husband was more than a little amused. “What happened to my non-competitive wife?” he asked. “Want to play some Mille Bornes?”

“Go right ahead. Say whatever you want,” I told him. He can laugh all he wants–I’m 12,226 steps ahead.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Mike McCollough © 2008 Creative Commons

Introducing the Writbit

fitbitMy Fitbit has me rather obsessed. I ran up and down the stairs a few times last night before bed, just to meet my quota. It didn’t matter that the goal was arbitrarily set by the Fitbit powers that be, I was determined to get those 10 flights in if it killed me. My husband was amused. My son was vexing me by standing in my path. He may be taller than me, but he’s skinny. I had 2 flights to go. He was going down.

Noting my renewed commitment to fitness, my husband, the computer genius, created the Writbit, for competitive writers. It’s like NaNoWriMo in your pocket.

You’ve written 3183 words today!

Go me. I totally rock.

Unfortunately 1962 were sort of crappy, and you wrote another 186 in passive voice

That leaves me what, a little over 900?

The length of the “Who is John Galt” speech!

Are you sure you’re counting right? That section of Atlas Shrugged feels much longer than that to me. Anyhow, don’t you think you’re being a bit harsh? 1962 words couldn’t have been crappy, some of them must have been at least average.

We have a well-vetted algorithm based on your previous work.

Thanks. I feel so much better now.

Am I really supposed to count “I don’t know what to write, but if I stop typing my son will think I’m not working and start to talk about fantasy football.” Really? I’m supposed to count that? And just so you know, that sarcastic tone might scare off mere mortals, but Writbits have no feelings.

So I’ve noticed.

On a more positive note, you’ve edited 8263 words today, not including correcting typos.

Apparently I have another 1962 I can start working on.

A writer’s work is never done. You used 1427 adverbs, by the way. You can pave the road to hell and back again with stats like that.

Thank you, Steven King.

You’re welcome!

Hey, Fitbit here. If you’re done with the chit chat, you might want to go climb some stairs. You have another 7 flights to go. I’m still here, you know. The kid’s at school, nothing standing in your way. Apparently you’re only writing crap anyhow, so you might as well get some exercise.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Pete Markham © 2012 Creative Commons

A Conversation with my Fitbit

fitbitCongratulations! You have taken 5426 steps today. That’s 54% of your goal!

Awesome, and it’s only my first day.

But it’s 5:00. Shouldn’t you be walking or something?

I forgot  to put you on this morning. Cut me some slack.

That’s what they all say. Get moving.

I went to the grocery store without you. Don’t you think I walked a few steps doing that?

Says you. Do you have any corroborating witnesses to attest to the number of steps you took?

Never mind.

That’s what I thought.

I also ran with my husband. Two miles, as I recall.

That’s already included, which, by the way, means you really need to get walking.

It was really cold out. Did I mention that, Fitbit? I went running when it was really cold out.

Cry me a river. But please walk while you’re doing it. I don’t want to have the same talk with you an hour from now.

What about housework? I climbed the stairs 22 times in the last three hours. That’s laundry, cleaning, and poor planning. Doesn’t that get some type of multiplier? I also spent an hour ironing my husband’s shirts.

Did you walk in place while ironing?

Blink. Blink.

You aren’t helping yourself here.


Listen here, Fitbit. I’m a writer, so I’m writing. That’s what writers do. It sort of a sedentary job.

Hemingway was a writer, and he got up from his desk for a shot of  something at least once every hour or so. He also ran with bulls.

Only once a year. The running with the bulls part, that is. I run three days a week. I also drink three days a week. It’s healthier that way.

Look, I’m the Fitbit, not the Bentbit, and did I mention, you’ve taken 5426 steps today. That’s 54% of your goal! That’s an “F” by the way. The programmers make me put the exclamation point in.

Man, that’s harsh. You knew that would get to me, didn’t you.

Listen sunshine, if you can’t walk and talk at the same time, shut up.


Congratulations! You’ve climbed one set of stairs today! That’s the equivalent of the world’s tallest cornstalk.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Pete Markham © 2012 Creative Commons