By Mims Cushing

How often do you say: “How dare you?” or “That is very rude!” or “How can you say such a thing to me?”

I’ve been saying that a lot lately. To a machine. Why? Because a new walking device was telling me to “move” when I was deep into a good book.

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Here’s what happened: One Saturday morning when I was feeling happy I made coffee and climbed into bed with a cuppa and “The Last Days of Night,” by Graham Moore.

I was learning a thing or two about electricity at the dawn of the century, when my wrist vibrated, meaning I had an incoming text. It was yelling “Move” at me because I wasn’t out of bed and walking. How dare it?

“Hey, smartypants,” I wanted to say, “I am still in pajamas. It’s only 8 a.m.” I hadn’t been moving for a while and it felt I should get a move on.

This is how it all went down:

Two weeks ago I bought a Garmin Vivo HR. It’s an amazing device that tracks my steps and has figured out that 10,000 steps might be too much for this person in a day. (Thank you, machine.) It set a lower number of steps for me to reach instead. It has decided my number is around 5,000. If I creep up to that plateau it will set the number higher. I do not let myself walk anywhere near that so I don’t have to walk more steps.

It also tells me the time, temperature (not mine, that greater outdoor world’s), the amount of calories I’ve eaten (or is it metabolized?) Here’s a little aside: Do not eat the Vortex Burger at Metro Diner. I bet that is the amount of calories most people should eat in two, maybe three, days.

It tells me the miles I’ve walked daily. Miles? Ha ha ha. It announces the minutes per week I’ve exercised and the steps I’ve climbed (None — hey, I’m in a one-level home.) Basically I love this device and have it on all day, letting it rest on my night table from 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. The machine is registering 70 in the window that normally shows my heart rate. Does that mean my night table’s heart rate is 70? Or mine?

I’ll bet they sell one of these cursed devices that sends a text saying, “Don’t eat that. Too many carbs.” I’ve been sitting at my computer writing this for about an hour and guess what? My blessed machine just said “Move!” I’ve figured it out. It thinks I should move every hour. I, being a SmartPerson, have figured out a way to shut the thing up. I leave it on my night table.

The next morning I wanted to continue reading “The Last Days of Night” in bed and didn’t want to be told, “Move!” No problem. I simply let my MeanMachine lie on my kitchen counter until I, on my own, decided to get up and face the day. Bliss.

Too bad there isn’t a machine to tell you how often you are being nice. It would calculate how kind you’ve been toward your fellow man. Let’s have a tracker that tells you how many times you smiled at others in a day and how often you made people feel valued. How about a point system? How many times a week did you pick up litter? How often did you hold a door open for someone? And if you forget to do something nice, every hour the wrist machine could say… “Be Nice!”

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