Careful where you step

You can’t make this stuff up.

I’ve had my activity monitor for almost a week now and it has changed my life.

Not only do I have this trendy piece of technology that looks like a watch but isn’t, I can now see how many steps I have taken, how many calories I’ve burned and how well I slept. While I assumed that the steps counted involved actual walking, I never imagined all the things I would see while being active outdoors.

In just a few short days I encountered free range cats and dog-walkers galore. There are gardens to photo, people to greet and things hidden in plain view that one just doesn’t see from a car.

In order to fully appreciate everything out there one has to be prepared to look up and down. This prevents wrong turns and the need to scrape off one’s footwear.

Where once I did on-line banking and used a courier service, now I sashay to the bank and post office. I also learned I could enhance my calorie burning by taking thirty minute hot (bubble) baths. Here is my idea of the perfect workout:

The problem with activity trackers is that they track your every move. You can’t just say you did it. They are 1984 on your wrist.

Since I prefer to have a destination in mind, a friend suggested I walk to the 14 (FOURTEEN !) Little Free Libraries circumnavigating my residence. I took this as a literary challenge as opposed to the sporty kind.

Neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor coffee shops kept me from my resolve. From two little libraries on Wellington Crescent, two on Oak Street, to those on Jessie Ave., Garwood Ave., Waverley St., Niagara St., and Kingsway Ave. to Dorchester and McMillan Ave., I soldiered on. Those 10,000 goal steps seemed doable. Until I found out you’re supposed to do them all in one day.

Never did I expect to find money while stepping out. Finding a new, signed valid debit card by a boulevard and turning it in to a bank met my goal of one good deed a day. Finding cold hard cash was something else.

I was nearly late walking to a dinner date at the Sunshine Restaurant with family visiting from Alberta when I came across a trail of bread crumbs posing as money. Let me be clear; these are the real deal. And as of this writing they’re still there:

Does it pay to look down? Maybe, if you can pry off coins Crazy Glued to pavement.

Remember being admonished to not step on cracks lest you break someone’s back? Now you have to contend with tiptoeing through the toonies. Is it a first year Psych experiment or the deed of some sick puppy out there? Or leftovers from Just For Laughs?

The spooky feeling that comes over me knowing that my activity tracker knows what I’m up to was exacerbated when I looked around to see if anyone was watching me trying to pry what could have been some lucky waiter’s tip from the footpath.

My first citizen journalist instinct is to research this urban phenomenon. Why would someone glue current coinage to a public sidewalk? Is there a camera hidden somewhere to record the reactions of those who come upon this rare occurrence?

This is the sort of thing that makes or breaks writing careers. I can’t be caught participating in fake news. Better to take this slowly and methodically. I’ll map out a strategy worthy of any spreadsheet.

Stay tuned for part two of this Nancy Drewesque newsworthy mystery. I’m on the case. And I know the next steps to take.

One wrong step and who knows where you’ll end up! Only your activity tracker will know for sure.

Heather Emberley / Gracie Sweetstory


Heather Emberley is a repurposed school counsellor specializing in the psycho-social infrastructure of experience, an EAL teacher, freelance writer and sidekick of Gracie Sweetstory. They are stewards of a Little Free Library and their favourite word is postantineoconceptualizationalisticism.

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