C’mon, give an old lady a break

muriel-6Look I’m 80. I didn’t grow up with computers or most of today’s  technologies. Surely I’m not the only one who would be grateful to be able to buy a phone, or radio, or whatever, which will just do what I want it to do. Is this too much to ask?


I wanted to buy a pedometer

Besides, trying to make my way through poorly organized, very long instruction booklets with small print is not easy. Often the product is made in China, and I fear the instructions are too. They have a long way to go before they can be described as helpful. My son, who knows so much more than I do about these things, I note, doesn’t bother reading them. He just seems to know what to do. No fair.

Just bought a new pedometer. That’s all I wanted. Something to replace the one I lost a few years ago which used to count my steps. They apparently don’t sell those anymore, so I asked the salesclerk if he would please set up this new one for me. He kindly obliged.


USB Cable, whatever that is


CD Rom which I’ll never use

He opened the package, withdrew a CD Rom (Health management software) some USB Cable, whatever that is, plastic clip-on holder, actual pedometer (Yeah!), and the instruction manual in English and French. The English portion alone is 40 pages long! Under ‘Important Safety Information’ you are warned to read ALL the information in the instruction book before using the unit. (I won’t.)

I can’t resist telling you the hard plastic outer package measures 7 3/4” x 6 1/2”. (If you need that in metrics, you’re on your own.) Then, there’s a second inner hard plastic package which is approximately 6 1/2” x 5”. The actual pedometer is about 1 1/2” x 2”.

When all I want is a pedometer, is all this extra stuff and packaging necessary? I have children and a grandson. I want them to have a decent environment left to live in after I’m gone. How will that be possible with all this waste?

Okay, now back to setting the gizmo up. The first thing the clerk asked was how much I weigh. I’ve never lied about my age, but to tell the truth, I’ve always lied about my weight. Few people have been told that. It’s privileged information. The only ones who do know are my daughter, whom I trust with my life; Trudy, one of my closest friends; and my doctor.

‘What do they need that for?’


Is he telling everyone how much I weigh?

‘That’s the next step in setting it up.’

Goodness me. Now the fellow knows how much I weigh — I don’t even know his name. Doesn’t seem fair to me. Well, on to the next step.

‘How long is your stride — in metrics?’

My stride??? In metrics? They didn’t teach metrics when I went to school. I also spent years in the U.S. where they flatly refuse to deal with such nonsense and I don’t blame them. Besides, when was the last time you walked around with a measuring tape to figure out how long your stride is, in metrics or otherwise? Are they nuts?


How long is my stride???? Are you kidding?

By now the poor guy was probably regretting being kind to this cranky old lady. I decided to plop down on my walker — this was obviously going to be a very long, complicated process. He patiently explained that the instructions suggest you measure your stride before setting the darn thing and read me the options they list. I hadn’t a clue.

‘I’m short. Choose the lowest option or whatever.’

This pocket pedometer seems to be able to do many things like count your calories, check your heart rate, tell you how much fat you’ve burned, see if your steps are aerobic, etc., etc. I wonder — will it take the dog out and cut my toe nails?



11 thoughts on “C’mon, give an old lady a break

  1. Sigh, yes… The Devil’s in the details… Life is one big make-work project!

    Trying to rehab w CFS, I’ve had to create a mini spread sheet to keep track of my weekly/daily perambulations… While initially a pain, it’s helped keep me focused.

    Same thing w my Blood pressure monitor…


  2. You’re right Chris: And on top of it all, the pedometer worked for three days but today it is visiting a neighbor who is trying to find out why it won’t work. Maybe it’s angry with me….
    Thanks for reading, Muriel

    • It definitey knew you were not happy with it, so it is getting back at you. That is one of the functions they told you about on page 38 of the manual that you refused to read! And in the safety instructions, it clearly says, “Do not harbor bad thoughts about this device, or it will make your life a living hell.”

  3. You bought a device that came with a printed manual??? Do you know how lucky you are? For anything I’ve bought recently (e.g., new iPod, laptop), the only manuals were online. Try reading through all that on a screen & making sense of it!

  4. Happy 5777…
    Remember Mike & Faye from the train? I (Mike) have a very old “pedometer” that my “Nana” (my Mom’s mom) gave me when I was about 12 years old. That would be 1965. This device was not high-tech even by 1965 standards. It had a needle in a white round dial with black numbers. Each number was a mile. I clipped it to my belt or pants and started walking. When I was finished walking, I looked at it. Let’s say the needle was between 2 and 3. I said “I walked two and a half miles today.” And that was it. No electricity. No batteries. No GPS navigation. It didn’t know or care if I was skinny or fat, tall or short, fast or slow, rich or poor, agile or klutzy, healthy or sickly, popular or nerdy, Jewish or goyish, Democrat or Republican. When I was done for the day I pushed the little button that set the needle back to zero. Then I put the pedometer back in its box in a dresser drawer in a house that no longer exists.
    Speaking of Democrats and Republicans, the elections here are November 8th. I said half-jokingly to my wife Faye, “If Trump wins, let’s move to Vancouver and become Canadians.”
    See you there!…
    Shana tova 5777…(Jewish year 1 was supposed to be Adam & Eve.)

  5. Hi Mike: Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be a good one for all and may Trump not triumph.
    My new pedometer was under house arrest for a few days with a neighbor who thought he might figure out how to get it to behave. But Susan and Evelyn figured it out. It was obviously offended that I had bad-mouthed it in my post.
    I was just about to buy flowers and chocolates to placate it (as Evelyn recommended) when I decided instead to take it to the store where I bought it. The clerk gave it a good shaking (which it deserved for misbehaving) and it now works. I think he managed to intimidated it. I shall try to be stricter in future.
    Do come to visit. I’ve got room for both you and Faye to stay with me. I often think of you both with pleasure. Stay well, Muriel

  6. As a runner since age 14, (1980) and still plodding along at age 50, I am well aware of these techno items that are sold to the masses, who walk, or run….From the days of asking my parents to DRIVE the route I just ran to use the car odometer for distance; I can now use my fancy-shmancy GPS watch that sends information back and forth from satellites in orbit above the Earth- to give EXACT distance, pace, and other bio-metrics if required! There are even some models that give cadence (steps per minute), height (of your footsteps off the ground) caloric output, pulse rate, breathing frequency, etc….Great for the information junkie or those who need “stuff to post on Facebook”, as it will even AUTOMATICALLY post ir for you on certain applications pre-installed on your watch or phone! Surely time-consuming and off no interest to me, but likely fodder for the landfill, when the batteries die, or they change a plug size. Prof that “time waits for no one”….Credit to the Rolling Stones for that song lyric…

    Long May We Run and Love, Gary Rush, Canada.

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