Friday, September 21, 2018
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Not Quite There

I’m through bothering with trolls

By: - Columnist
/ 05:03 AM July 08, 2018

My favorite gadget in seniorhood is the Fitbit watch. It has replaced the iPhone, if only insofar as the iPhone keeps me on Facebook, which has allowed too much fake news and too many unwanted advertisements.

Besides, Facebook is much too public. I prefer to join family and friendly Viber groups, with whom I can share and exchange information, pictures and opinions comfortably. I’m through bothering with trolls, and I’ve recognized by now who among my own friends have taken up causes that, try as I might, I find difficult to imagine fit for the human stomach.


Now, I’m getting hot under the collar just thinking about them!

The Fitbit is definitely better for my health. It counts my steps—and gives me extra credit going up—and also my heartbeats to warn me when I’m not keeping a good rate. I love that it gives me a gentle buzzing to remind me of the 250 steps I need to do hourly for circulation and stamina.

The iPhone itself helps by giving me visual charts of my progress. I’m convinced every senior who can still walk, aided or unaided, should have one.

Every day, we seniors, whether we realize it or not, are making important decisions that will either raise or lower the quality of these precious bonus years. Getting a Fitbit watch was doubtless a positive step.

Another, a very recent one, was a 10-day Baltic cruise with my husband. I don’t think I could have done all the walking it required if we had waited another year!

Naturally I brought the watch. I couldn’t imagine leaving it behind—it doesn’t only tell time, it tells my personal history. My Omega Sport could have gone on and on, but the Fitbit outdates it, health-wise and otherwise. My Omega has marked so much time—across 30 years—and yet, except for a few scratches, it has not aged even as its beautiful original endorser, Cindy Crawford, has passed the job to her handsome son and daughter.

The lovely watch, with its strategic inserts of 24k gold on a stainless steel bracelet, has been retired, re-commissioned only on very rare occasions—when the Fitbit, with its turquoise-colored rubber bracelet, might seem too sporty.

My poor Fitbit seemed confused traveling across time zones, but when finally its trusty partner, the iPhone, got its bearings, it caught up. It remained unable to assess the hours and quality of my sleep, but it never stopped counting everything else. Except for a few minutes of motion discomfort for a few nights, I slept like a baby.

My weekly reports were glowing with overachievement. Those walking tours in St. Petersburg earned me steps well beyond my daily set goal of 6,000. I even surpassed the American Heart Association’s target of 10,000. I hit nearly 12,000! And for that the Fitbit people gave me the London Underground Badge: Congratulations! You have walked the equivalent of 402 km, the length of the first London Underground!


I proceeded, challenged and inspired, if walking funny and slow, ignoring the pain in my left foot just below the ankle—due to either spurs or uric acid. For spurs, I brought a soothing ointment I applied at night and put my feet up before going to sleep. It helped, but it also got me thinking of more serious walking aids.

I started noticing canes and walkers used on land and on board by fellow seniors and displayed in stores everywhere—carved wood, enameled, aluminum and other light-metal alloys, some convertible to umbrellas, seats, or weapons of self-defense. I still have a few of Mom’s—Dad was much too macho to succumb.

There were thinner canes that came in pairs, so that one looked like skiing on land. I thought they not only were cool but provided better balance; but then, again, with both hands engaged, one can only salivate for an ice-cream cone. In my case, a pair of canes is just another cane to lose or misplace or leave behind.

The more we travel, the more convinced Vergel becomes that I should carry nothing at all, not even a handbag—especially a handbag! I totally agree. I’d have lost my handbag if we had not been in trustworthy Japan. And I do walk faster and more steadily with both of my hands free—and he walks with less worry.

Chatting with a fellow cruiser my age, I wondered in one of those moments we both opted out of a long, hard climb: If only there was a way to carry a cane without looking like a really old granny. Of course, I’m open to the possibility of using one, but, with my Fitbit, with its incentives and encouragement, I think I could hold out for some time yet, I told my fellow cruiser, who was inspired to tell this interesting story.

“Once I picked up an interesting-looking fallen tree branch and took it with me on a long walk home. You cannot imagine the change in attention and regard I received from everyone, on the street, and in the stores I entered. I think very likely, all the warmth and affection toward me might have been elicited by the stick they mistook as a cane!”

Well, that’s certainly encouraging. I guess, as in the case of undyed white hair or stark baldness, it’s all in how you carry your stick.

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TAGS: Fitbit watch, Not quite there, Social Media, Trolls
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