I almost never read the emails we get from the Firm; they’re usually just missives to make me feel like a guilty asshole for not ever giving blood.
So if not for Amber asking me a few weeks ago if I wanted to join her team, I’d have no idea why half the department is scurrying around with pedometers clipped to their waistbands. We then picked the new Amber (Amber2 herein) and Carey to round out our team, which Amber named Team Apple.
(First, she wanted me to name it, but then quickly added, “And nothing with Jonny Craig in it!!” I guess at that point she realized I’d be at a loss, so she made an executive decision. Probably a really smart idea.)
Our pedometers arrived a week before the competition officially started and Nina, bless her heart, saw me struggling to open mine. “Here, let me do that for you, buddy,” she said and proceeded to put the whole thing together for me, and then even programmed it for me. Thank god for Nina!
Amber and I immediately started wearing ours and it was really fun to take the long way around the department in order to rack up more steps. One night last week, I begged Carey to take the steps with me, instead of the elevator.
“For what?” she asked, probably thinking that her constant loop of Adele made her miss a fire alarm.
“To get extra steps!” I snapped.
“You do realize this challenge hasn’t started yet, right?” she said, looking seriously concerned. “I mean, I didn’t even take my pedometer out of the package yet.”
“It’s called TRAINING, Carey!” I yelled in that sweet self-righteous way I’m known to do. Look—I’m the only fat one on our team. My only goal at that point was to not bring the rest of them down. How humiliating.
We took the steps that night. It was scary, yet exhilarating in a running-from-Michael-Myers-in-a-hospital-stairwell kind of way.
The Challenge officially started this past Monday. Amber and I were totally stoked about it, and she even made a group event on Facebook for us to do laps around the building at precisely 3PM, at which time Amber2 and Carey were conveniently MISSING. So Amber and I went out alone. I even went back out later that night and did laps IN THE RAIN, that’s how many shits I give about Team Apple.
Meanwhile, Carey had accumulated approximately 1,000 steps by that afternoon and was seemingly proud of this.
“What the fuck, Carey?” I exclaimed. “Are you wheeling yourself around!?” And that’s when I really began noticing that she doesn’t actually walk, she meanders, and now I picture sleepy Southern scenes scrolling alongside of her, weeping willows and plantations, Kevin Spacey in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (What? That’s all I know about the South.)
And then our Team Leader Amber didn’t even have her pedometer! She left it at her parents’ house – TWO HOURS AWAY! She had them overnight it to her and had the foresight to use her iPod in the meantime. Because she actually cares about our team, Carey!
Amber2 at some point realized that she had her pedometer set up wrong and it was resetting itself at noon. I pretty much knew going into this that our team didn’t stand a chance, not with all the pseudo-professional athletes just in our department alone, but after Day One, whatever hope remained had peaced out.
Carey didn’t come into work until 4PM on Day Two. Amber asked me if I knew where she was; I shrugged and said, “Probably not walking.”
Meanwhile, Amber2 had concocted some lame excuse about how she didn’t do any walking after work because “Dance Moms” was on. I haven’t been very mean to her about this though because she is still kind of new to our crazy department, but I mean come on – Dance Moms would want her to walk her ass off.
I wound up with a little over 15,000 steps for day one. That seemed pretty good to me. But on Day Two, I didn’t get much of a chance to collect a lot of steps before work, so that night after Chooch and Henry went to sleep, I decided to walk in place while watching Master Chef. Walking in place then turned into pacing, and that then morphed into maniacal marching, back and forth, side-stepping, sometimes even in figure 8s. It was like walking on the longest, most retarded broken tread mill.
My cat Marcy was not amused and gave me menacing glares from her orange chair which said, “SIT THE FUCK DOWN, BITCH.”
90 minutes later, I had surpassed 20,000 steps. It wasn’t even really my goal, but my recessive OCD reared its ugly head and I became absolutely obsessed with the numbers and I’d promise myself things like, “Just round it up to 17,000 and you can be done.” And then 17,000 became 18,000. 18,000 became 19,000. 19,000 became I HAVE TO GET 20,000 BEFORE MIDNIGHT OR THE WORLD WILL IMPLODE!
I was marching so hard that I was glazed in sweat and every step had actually registered as a cardio step. I’m pretty sure I burned more calories that day than I took in. BECAUSE I AM SUCH A SMARTIE.
It’s just that competition is my third favorite c-word. I can’t do anything half-assed. Do I need to remind everyone about Blogathon? Or that fucking Halloween decorating contest last year at work and how it completely consumed my life? I was literally thinking like a serial killer for 31 days. (I know, I know—way to low-ball that number, Erin Rachelle Kelly.) As soon as I told Henry about this challenge, he murmured something along the lines of, “Great, this isn’t going to fuck up my life at all. You’re probably going to end up in the hospital. Now all your co-workers will find out how much of a competitive douchebag you really are.” (I’ve actually kept the douchebaggery under control so far. Don’t ask me how. I mean, I’m the girl who straight slapped a friend over a game of Scattergories.)
I was on a high for Day Three. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal that I got 20,000 steps, but it was a big deal for ME. I excitedly told Barb and Amber, and before I knew it, most of the department knew. I was a little embarrassed about it, but mostly I was paranoid because now everyone else had a number to beat. And news travels fast there. No less than 10 minutes after telling Amber, I was confronted by about 6 incredulous co-workers. Some of them are now calling me a freak (I know, only now?!) and one of them was like, “Where are you walking to?!”
I told her that I just naturally walk fast. I mean, I live in Brookline: I walk like someone scary is always behind me. (Seriously, I walked around town when I got home from work that night and all I kept thinking was how I really didn’t want to be able to say, “Totally got raped in the bowels of Brookline, but at least I made it to 20,000 steps!” Plus, there are entire city blocks here that stink of urine, so that helps me pick me up the pace.)
And then this happened:
Yesterday morning, while Henry’s mom was watching Chooch, I went to the nearest cemetery and just kept walking and walking and walking until my pedometer hit 7,000. I felt that was pretty good for 10AM. I came home, possibly staggering like I was on bath salts but really it was because I was still tired from my late night Brookline power-walking tour, and Henry’s mom started lecturing me about how I’m over-doing it and I was like, “OKAY MOM.” I actually was feeling kind of sketchy though. Then later I walked to the trolley, got off a stop earlier to add extra steps to my route and then proceeded to lap around the Law Firm building until it was time to start my shift. I had 11,000 steps by the time I got to my desk. Barb sighed and said, “You’re going to walk away into nothing!” and I said, “Um duh, isn’t that the challenge?” Maybe I read it wrong.
In a hyper-pitched, half-hysteric tone, I tried explaining to Barb that I couldn’t stop, and then I couldn’t stop saying I couldn’t stop. I think that was the first time all week I had started to scare myself.
Later, I was straight cornered by three of my work friends whose opening line was, “We heard you’re walking 20,000 steps a day” and then they tried to draft me onto their team.
Went on a furry search (it’s furry convention time in Pittsburgh! More on that later!) and racked up more steps. I saw a furry in a wheelchair who was moving faster than Carey. By the time I left work at 9PM, I had 19,000.
In the car on the way home, Henry said, “And I’d like to thank you for turning on the bedroom light and pacing last night while I was trying to sleep.”
“I had to! I couldn’t just go to bed when I was 200 steps away from 21,000!” I cried. God, he just doesn’t get it.
(OMG I think I might really have a problem, it’s just now occurring to me.)
I’ve been walking something like 8 miles a day – and not moseying or meandering a la Carey, but really walking like a crazed fugitive. When I’m at home, I’m almost never sitting and it’s making everyone kind of nervous. EYES ON THE PRIZE.
And naturally there are some people who are saying I must be cheating, that I’m probably putting my pedometer on Chooch and setting him loose on the playground*. Oh, it’s because I’m Chubs City, right? No way could a fat girl walk that much, right? Because clearly I go home everyday and have Henry, clad in muddied overalls, push me around in a wheelbarrow while I stuff Little Debbie treats in my fat fucking lazy mouth. CLEARLY.
*(FYI, he has pretty much been with his grandma every morning while I’m out breaking my toes around Brookline).
It’s kind of insulting. I don’t care about the Dick’s gift card or the Kindle (the prizes we are walking for), and putting my pedometer on my kid is not going to get me those things anyway because he’s a little slug. (Forced him to go for a leisurely stroll last week and he legit cried, “My hip hurts!” Um, OK, I forgot you’re 60, not 6. Jesus Christ.) Yes, competition motivates me, but what motivates me even more is besting myself. So if I was cheating, I’d only be cheating myself. When I wind up passing out at work, that’ll prove it.
(But no seriously, I’m clearly doping.)
Oh shit, Carey left her diary open on her desk, and look what I found!
I just want you to know that it killed me to stop moving in order to write this.