I never thought I would end up like this. I’m a slave to the numbers on my pedometer.
Everyday my self-worth is at risk. It’s like academia’s mantra, Publish or Perish. I must walk 10,000 steps or I’m a failure. This all started, as I’ve written before, when I purchased a Japanese-made digital pedometer more than a year ago. (Does America make anything anymore?) The instrument has slowly but surely taken over my life.
At one time during the past year, I coined a walking term. Striking Distance. Striking Distance is the number of steps I need to take before midnight to reach my goal of 10,000. It is something I usually assess around 6 in the evening. It has to be something within reason. If I need 5,000 steps, it is futile, not worth the effort, and I accept the horrible truth about myself.
Striking Distance has changed recently. It once was 3,500 more steps before midnight. Now it is 4,500. I even have a 4,500-step route that I know I can achieve even if I wait until 11:15 p.m.
Now a new Striking Distance emerged. I realized tonight on my way back by car from The Gelato Spot that I am within Striking Distance of 4 million steps for the year, by the end of December. Two scoops of gelato, by the way, is what the monthly loser buys the champion, and tonight I collected my August prize from Nebra, who won in July.
For the year, I have walked 3,136,051 measured steps. That means I have to average a fraction more than 9,390 steps a day through December 31, a number that doesn’t at all frighten me. I averaged 11,824 last month. Nebra has a much more difficult task to reach 4 million. She will have to do 12,223 a day.
Anyway, to see how ridiculous this pedometer thing has gotten, here we were driving home from gelato and as we approached the house I asked Nebra to stop the car and let me out. It was after 11 o’clock and I was still 600 steps short. I must, mandated almost by my little black instrument, to walk two more blocks. No problem. Another 10,000 is now in the books, a 32nd straight day I have not felt like a failure. But it was victory and slavery at the same time.