One Sunday morning I got sucked into one of those “Steals and Deals” segments on a national news program. Usually they sell things like weighted blankets and scented candles, nothing too interesting. On this particular Sunday it was all about New Year – New You. Naturally it centered on weight loss, exercise and all the unholy gadgets that make you feel bad about yourself. 

My interest piqued at the latest in smart watch technology. Not only was this watch at the rock bottom price of 80% off, it also measured steps, counted calories, monitored heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and so many more exciting features! Never mind that I never wear watches, I still jotted down the ordering information and with a click of the mouse I ordered it. 

When this genius piece of technology finally arrived, I couldn’t wait to put it on. I walked around the house to make sure it was counting my every step. I went outside and then back in. I watched the watch face as the little ticker counted in rapid succession my every move. I walked into a wall. I sat down and downloaded the companion app for my phone so I can have additional features. Now my smart watch will remind me to drink water and receive text messages. Oh the joy! I spent the rest of the day testing my blood oxygen levels and temperature – very important features considering the pandemic. 

I put the watch on Zach and tested his. He struggled a bit. I walked around some more and then I tested my heart rate. All good. I got a phone call and my watch buzzed. It was exciting. I pressed a bunch of buttons and took a picture. I ended up having to answer my real phone. The watch doesn’t answer calls, it just tells you there is one. 

Ok. I figured it out. A moment later the watch buzzed and reminded me to drink water. Cool, I can really appreciate this. The companion app sends you health reports and it was really mad I hadn’t logged any sleep data. I must wear the watch to bed. I didn’t really want to but the watch said. The first night I wore the watch to bed it reminded me three times to drink water and that I had a Facebook notification. 

I needed to adjust the notifications – but how? I sat on the couch fiddling with the watch while Zach rolled his eyes. It buzzed, reminding me to get up – sedentary warning. Who enabled that? 

Two days in, I found myself unable to keep up with the water demands. It didn’t like my REM sleep habits and I was way behind on my steps. It was like living with my 9th grade PE teacher. By day four I found myself passive-aggressively “forgetting” to put it on. 

I sat down with it this morning and gave it some parameters. I will not be wearing it to bed. It will just have to deal with it. I will drink water as I see fit and I disabled the sedentary warning feature. My self-esteem can’t handle it. 

So far we are getting along just fine. My heart rate, blood oxygen and temperature are holding steady. My wrist buzzes sometimes for no reason and it makes me wonder if the watch is trying to punish me. I’m fully aware it can probably hear me. I still don’t know how to take a picture on purpose or how to drink enough water to satisfy it.

What is the moral of this story? A smart watch makes you anything but smart.