I have a watch that talks to me. It tells me, for instance, every once in a while, to stop what I’m doing and just think. Meditate, if you will, for a few moments.
This watch is not unusual. Many people have these watches. They monitor your movements, tell you how many calories you’ve burned on your walk. How many heart beats you have per minute. What the weather is and what you can expect in the coming hours and days. This is only the beginning.
But my watch, I fear, has gone rogue. For one thing, it has an uncanny ability to tell me to stop what I’m doing and meditate exactly when my writing is flowing beautifully. Red hot. When I mustn’t be distracted or I will lose that coveted flow. This is supposed to help me remain a balanced person but, in fact, it pushes me to the precipice, the very edge, of writer’s block.
And my watch is not as smart as it thinks it is, either. The other day I was lying down on my couch, talking to a friend on the phone, when it popped up with the comment, “It looks like you’re taking a walk. Would you like to keep a record?”
Really? Is that what it looked like?
I bought the watch because it can be programmed to notify someone if the wearer falls and can’t get up. That seemed like a better option than one of those devices you wear around your neck. Not that I’m falling all the time. I have taken a couple tumbles in the last few years but I have always been able to get up on my own. But who knows? We’re, none of us, getting any younger. I told my daughter that she would receive a notification on her cell phone if I took a spill and couldn’t pull myself up off the floor. She rolled her eyes. Kids. What do they know?
I hope to make peace with this device, which truly has some useful features. And as for the problem of the jarring reminders to meditate when I’m in the middle of writing the great American novel, well, I can always take it off when I’m writing. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to roll off my chair when I’m in the middle of a sentence. Yet.
Norma Libman is a journalist and lecturer who has been collecting women’s stories for more than twenty years. You can read the first chapter of her award-winning book, Lonely River Village, at NormaLibman.com.