It used to be the case that an obsession with technology meant that you had a rather sedentary lifestyle – however these days (particularly today) I’m seeing evidence directly to the contrary.
The park has been packed this morning with crowds of people at it’s choke points (most have been dressed in black and look very pasty) all of whom are oblivious to people like me trying to get past. They’re all staring intently at their mobile phones and wandering around looking like extras from The Walking Dead.
Oddly this phenomenon doesn’t seem related to a single age group or sex – but appears to be crossing all demographics.
I had no idea what they were up to – and occasionally heard sentences like ‘I’m putting egg and stardust on!’ as I walked in between the little groups dotted around Jephson Gardens.
My curiosity eventually got the better of me and I decided to ask a man with his two engrossed sons what was going on. The boys had iPads and their dad was holding a large Android phone.
The younger (more fidgety) of the two children was relentlessly prodding a tablet that had a thick blue rubber case surrounding it. I noticed that it had either failed miserably in its job or had been applied after the device in the child’s hands had suffered a seriously smashed up screen.
The tablet seemed to be working nevertheless and he was furiously tapping here and there on it, intently working away at the task in hand. His father clearly didn’t think there was potential for digit lacerations – but to me it seemed like a clear and present danger.
All three were connected via three lengthy white cables to what I can only assume was a large power supply in the man’s messenger bag, which was hanging on a short strap in front of his stomach like a papoose.
They too were discussing stardust and eggs.
‘I have to ask…’ I started ‘..what is everyone doing? They’re all just staring at their mobiles!’
He seemed slightly irritated that I’d interrupted him, but answered me nevertheless, barely lifting his eyes from the screen in his hands as he did.
‘It’s an augmented reality game with a special event.’ He replied.
He didn’t look like he was planning to expand further but I dug deeper.
‘Oh really?’ I said. ‘Which one?’
‘Pokemon Go.’ he answered abruptly – before returning his undivided attention to scanning the bushes and chasing whatever creatures appeared to be visiting the area. He continued on his way in silence.
Ah. That explained it.
When this game first came out in July 2016 I’d only just begun to try and get fitter by walking around my local parks – and had noticed many many people nearly walking into trees and rivers whilst hunting elusive little Pokemons (link).
At the time I spent a lot more time seated under trees than I do now…
II wasn’t interested in this game at the time – which I found a little puzzling – as I was a devout video gamer back then.
I suppose I wanted to get as far away from the things that I felt had contributed to ‘my downfall’ as possible – and I’ve always viewed video games as one of them, although truthfully it was probably more of a symptom of wider problems than the cause.
The argument with Pokemon Go and other games like it is that they get people off their sofa and this means that they’re much more active than they otherwise would be on a Playstation or XBOX. If this morning in the park is anything to go by I can’t really disagree – although I feel that to call it exercise would be stretching the truth somewhat.
The game requires the bare minimum of movement from its players – and their engagement also meant that whilst they were physically grouped together the people playing seemed largely oblivious to their companions.
I guess the way that people interact these days is changing but I’m not sure whether this could be called progress or not. At least they’re not sitting on the couch waiting for a heart attack like I used to.
The fact that they’re outside (and together) is definitely a plus – and it’s nice to see that technology can play a part in encouraging this rather than preventing it – but I’d really love them to see what’s around them with their own eyes rather than via what’s appearing on their screens.
If they looked up and around them they’d see the most beautiful colours and sky as I have today whilst I’ve been wandering and eating my lunch.
However – not everything has to have colour. Some things look better if they’re a little more traditional and reserved – and with this in mind I can announce that I have finally completed the outfit that I’ve been putting together for the Slimming World ball in November.
I’ve been absolutely adamant that I didn’t want to wear a black tuxedo and black bow tie – and i definitely didn’t want to rent an outfit either.
This seemed to me like it was a total waste of money in both instances as I’m highly unlikely to wear this ever again if I own one and I’m just throwing money away if I rent it.
I’d like to be able to re-use it.
Plus – after some tests in M&S and Moss Bros I’m even more convinced that it would just make me look like a beardy Hugh Hefner.
When the missing piece of my personal puzzle arrived by courier yesterday I tried the whole ensemble on for the first time and took some photos for a few second opinions.
I’m loathe to reveal it just yet, in case I change my mind – but here’s a hint.
It’s absolutely NOT this.
Right – now we’ve got that cleared up I guess I better let you know how I did on the scales yesterday.
It seems that the week went well – although I would have preferred to lose weight rather than maintain. I want to go toward the bottom of my range (taking me down to 13st 11lbs) – but I’m detracting nothing from this. Crucially (and most importantly) it’s a win, my outfit fits perfectly and I’m still in target.
Now I’m in range I’ve stopped being quite so militant about #onplanoctober but I’m still taking very careful note of everything that passes my lips and paying close attention to my exercise as well.
This month (according to my Apple Health app) I seem to be doing even more than I usually do – although to be truthful I haven’t been consciously trying to. I’ve just been keeping active and trying to fill my days productively, and this seems to have resulted in a fairly silly average of nearly 13 miles a day.
Still – it’s not forced in any way. I’m just genuinely enjoying getting out and about with people and chatting away about sunrises and changes of seasons.
My intention though is to be on tip-top form for the upcoming event – and since my consultant Angie is going to look like one of Charlie’s Angels when we stand on stage together (I s**t you not – I’ve seen a picture of her in the dress and she looks amazing) I need to feel my very best.
Anyway – that’s enough for the moment.
Feeling great and staying on plan means cooking proper meals and eating at the appropriate times, not just snacking – and so far I’ve been doing very well on this score. I have purchased zero Hi-fi bars or Aldi benefit bars this week (after recently identifying them as my ‘gateway drug’) and thats proven to be a great decision.
Last night for some reason I really hankered for garlic and my usual go-to chilli recipe found itself slightly modified to include virtually a whole bulb of the stuff and a few leeks.
Needless to say there are times where it’s a good thing I don’t have a partner or smoke in bed – as I’m pretty sure I blew the duvet almost completely off on a number of occasions during the night.
A naked flame nearby my sleeping form would probably have meant that I’d have said goodbye to both my windows and most of the bricks in the front of my house…
Tonight I’m having a stir fry with smoked haddock.
I’m going to stuff another metric tonne of garlic into it and enjoy every last flipping mouthful!!! Feel free to pop round internet – that is if you no longer need your eyebrows and have lost all sense of smell.