Last year for Christmas, my husband got me an Apple Watch. I hadn’t asked for one, unlike a lot of people, but bless his heart, he was pretty sure I’d love this little piece of new technology.
I have a well-established love/hate relationship with technology. I love how it can make many aspects of life more convenient, but I mostly hate how long it takes me to learn how to effectively use it. I still only use a fraction of the apps on my phone. (Don’t ask me why I don’t delete them- that’s a whole other topic for another day…) I don’t know how to get rid of viruses on my computer; when anything goes wrong with it, my go-to solution usually just involves restarting it or waiting until my husband gets home. I need a hands-on tutorial every time I have to change the ink in my printer. And God help us if the WiFi goes down when he’s away on business.
I’d had a Fitbit for a few years, another gift from hubby. At first I didn’t like it very much. Mostly because I have a penchant for collecting watches. And I liked the durability of my Timex Indiglo- I could get it wet, and it got banged around all day and it just kept going and going.
So it took some time to get around to liking my Fitbit. But then I got used to the little fireworks and pixelated graphics that would celebrate every time I hit 10,000 steps. Even if I was having a crap day, my Fitbit would still cheer me on. Because when you have three kids and two of them are teenagers, it’s nice to get daily affirmations no matter where they come from. I wore my Fitbit so much that the band started to wear out. And not the part you can replace, either.
I mourned a little bit when I couldn’t wear it anymore, mostly because I wouldn’t be getting my little positive daily affirmation.
And then on Christmas morning I opened a box with an Apple Watch inside. Disclaimer: I can be (simultaneously) the easiest and the hardest person to shop for. I hadn’t really given hubby a lot of ideas to go on for gifts for me. I didn’t know what to think at first, and truthfully, I was a little more excited about the three different watch bands he’d bought me to go with it.
Of course, he had to set it up for me, but he pointed out that it had an “activity” app on it that would keep track of my steps and stairs climbed just like my Fitbit. Cool, I’d thought. And I could change the look of the watch face (analog, digital, backgrounds) just by swiping. Fashion meets function.
I learned quickly that my Apple Watch would certainly celebrate me when I would meet one of my activity goals: “move goal” (somehow mysteriously calculates how many calories you’re burning), “stand goal” (somehow mysteriously calculates how many hours you spend on your feet per day), and “exercise goal” (again, somehow mysteriously calculates how many minutes you spend exercising). A different color ring lights up and flashes on my watch screen when I’ve met a goal. I can be frequently heard celebrating, “THE RING OF FIRE! I CLOSED A RING OF FIRE!” when this happens.
It’s also become obvious to me that Apple Watch and I have different definitions of “exercise” and “move.” (Granted, there are probably some “settings” I can monkey with to better accurately measure such things, but I think I’ve already explained my relationship with technology.)
I walk my dog almost every morning, weather permitting, for at least 30 minutes, some days as long as an hour. Apple Watch will frequently only register 10 minutes of “exercise” during this time. And I’m not walking at a senior citizen’s pace, either. Only rarely during these outdoor walks will a notification pop up, “It looks like you’re on an outdoor walk. Would you like to record an outdoor walk?” And if it does, it’s usually on the last 5 minutes of the walk. Thanks a lot, Apple Watch.
On Wednesday mornings, I do a cardio-kickbox-barre class at the gym. I call it my “weekly ass-kicking” because it’s a really good workout and I sweat so much I have to keep a towel nearby to wipe my dripping face and neck. On several occasions, about 25 minutes into the most intense cardio part of the workout, Apple Watch will say to me, “Looks like you’re on an outdoor walk. Would you like to record an outdoor walk?” OUTDOOR WALK?! F#%@ You, Apple Watch.
On Tuesdays, I take two dance classes, tap and jazz, an hour each. I’ll frequently get home after dancing and sweating for close to two hours and Apple Watch will buzz me, “You’re so close to closing your Move Ring. A brisk 17 minute walk should do it.” Thanks, Apple Watch.
And then my favorite Apple Watch shaming phrase usually happens on Thursdays, the one day I don’t go to the gym or dance class. “Your exercise ring is usually a lot farther along by now. Find some time to be active today.”
Apple Watch will shame me if I’m sitting for too long, like when I’m writing a blog piece. It will buzz me: “Time to Stand Up and move a little for one minute!”
But my husband? His Apple Watch has some pretty low expectations of him. He has a desk job, so he spends most of his day sitting. At a desk. He can stand up to open the window or take a trip to the rest room and what does his Apple Watch say to him? “Way to go! You’ve earned another hour toward your stand goal!”
As a mom, I do nothing but stand from the time the kids get home from school until I go to bed, except for quick dinners or when I’m driving the carpool. That’s really the only time I sit for any measurable length of time between 3pm and 9pm.
“Screw you, Apple Watch,” I can be heard muttering.
While I don’t appreciate the weekly shaming, there are several features I really and truly have come to depend on. I can “ping” my phone from my watch. Because I never put my phone down and get distracted and forget where I put my phone down. Definitely the best feature.
I also like that I can keep the sound off on my phone and Apple Watch will vibrate slightly when I have a text or notification. I can glance quickly at it to see if it’s something I need to answer right away, or something I can willfully ignore. Ha, ha. (I might be kidding.)
If you’re the sort of person who can’t find their way out of a paper bag (I think my mom used to say this a lot), or are rather directionally challenged, Apple Watch and Siri play nicely together. My watch will ding or vibrate when Siri directs me to turn, something I’ve come to really appreciate. It’s like a really nice backseat driver gently tapping me on the wrist, “here, sweetie, turn right here.”
So I wear my Apple Watch every day. Sometimes we celebrate together, sometimes I swear at it. I’d like to think our relationship is evolving, that one day we’ll reach a comfortable and friendly symbiosis. I tolerate its “reminders” and it tolerates me ignoring it. And there’s something slightly satisfying in touching that “dismiss” button that goes with those notifications.
I’m dismissing you.
And there’s nothing you can do or say about it.
Now if only parenting teens and tweens were that easy.