I recently mentioned I might like one of those fancy GPS running watches, so my dutiful husband did some research until he found the most user-friendly model.
He showed me the basic steps to get going with it and also directed me to some online tutorials. When I still didn’t get it, he printed out even simpler instructions. Nope.
He set me up to get going, and all was well until I finally stepped out of the building. Still no GPS signal. So I just pressed START and hoped for the best as I ran to the park.
Okay, there’s a lot more boring running stuff I was going to say here, but the rest of the afternoon was much better.
I ended up sitting on a park bench, eyeing baby ducks with good intent (Sorry. Musical shout-out to Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung.” No one but my brother will get it, but it’s my blog.)
Now, where were we? Oh, yes, my friend Helen, who’s in her 70s but doesn’t have a brain injury and does understand technology, had a look at those printed directions. She couldn’t make sense of them, so we moved on to more pleasant topics.
When we rose from the bench to walk her home, I heard a “ping!” The GPS signal had kicked in!
With apologies to Helen, I bid her goodbye and went for a test run. Destination: balance beam.
Turned out it was about six-tenths of a mile from the park to my favorite plaything. But instead of hopping on the balance beam to walk back and forth, singing various songs and trying simple yoga poses, I sat on a bench, eager to post about the experience on Facebook.
I returned to the post I’d abandoned a couple of times since receiving the watch. Its too-clever title, “Idiot-Proof Watch, Meet Idiot,” reflected the frustration I felt trying to figure the thing out.
But my husband has been adamant that I not put myself down. He’s always reminding me that I have a disability, not a lack of intelligence. So what if I’m no math whiz and have trouble following directions and can’t multitask and burst into tears when I’m upset and … and …?
Above all, I am not to call myself an idiot.
But documenting my progress from frustration to (maybe?) mastery of one aspect of this watch was too tempting. I started typing on my phone.
Then, along came Other Jerry. I call him that because I recently met another older fellow named Jerry. Great guy. Boy, the people you meet now that we’re mask-free. But I digress.
Other Jerry, riding a 10-speed bike and wearing a cardigan, slowed near my bench, and I said hello and introduced myself. I only started doing that sort of thing since the brain injury, and especially in the post-vaccination, mask-free era. But I digress again.
He and I commiserated about technology, praised the VA—where he got his vaccine doses and where I used to volunteer as a yoga teacher—and talked about the Navy. He’d served I-forget-when, and I bragged about my 93-year-old dad, who’d lied about his age to join up in World War II.
After he cycled off, I tried to return to my self-deprecating post.
The Universe seemed to have other ideas. Two of my friends walked up, shouting out greetings. Mary and Ellen are closer to my age, but they were as baffled by the watch and as grumpy about technology as me.
Once again, the conversation took a more interesting turn, or turns, including what a “butt” I’d been to my husband about the watch.
By the time we wrapped it up, I decided to head home. But first I sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” while walking to and fro on the beam. (Needless to say, I’m a well-known weirdo at the shore.)
I still had a GPS signal, so I just pressed START and trotted back. It was a longer distance, but later the data showed I’d stayed at a much more comfortable speed.
Back home, as I often do, I apologized to my husband for the way I am.
His rejoinder: “If it makes you feel better, you were that way before the accident.”