‘I can cope with it... until the phone rings’
Ilead an almost exclusively sedentary existence. The bottom on the chair, the fingers on the keyboard, the eyes on the screen – such is the geometry of my working life.
assume the position at 9am every morning, and – excepting calls of nature, calls of hunger and calls on the doorbell – I pretty much remain in that configuration for the next 10 hours. At which point, also sitting down, albeit in a different chair, having walked 4.5m from my office to the kitchen table, I have my tea. After that I generally retrace my steps to my computer.
Not that my life is dull. Sometimes, in the evening, I watch TV – while sitting down. Or I make some phone calls – while sitting down. And if I’m feeling extra-specially rock ’n’ roll, I read by the fire – while sitting down. Or lying down, quite often.
I know this behaviour is bad for me. And I know I should be more active – or at least more mobile, or at a minimum more upright. But I also know I’ve got a lot of tippity-tapping typing to get through. Step forward (or rather rumble forward) the genius concept that is the desk treadmill. Is it work? Is it leisure? Is it physical exertion for purposes of not turning into an utter blob? It’s all three!
At first sight of the treadmill desk, I can’t deny I was disappointed. I’d got overexcited, conjuring up a vision of a futuristic construction at the very limits of human imagination, all sci-fi and space-age and pod-like. Turns out a treadmill desk is a running machine with a big tray fixed on the front.
Never mind, trainers on feet, laptop on tray, finger on start button, let’s get that rubber rolling, 1mph, 2mph, 3mph... forget that, let’s live a little, crank this machine up to a nerve-shredding 6mph [9.7kph], ooh yeah, lovin’ that speed.
Now – puff, pant – to get stuck into some work… I’ve hit the wrong key, the thing’s asking if I want to install some new updates, that always unsettles me (stabs wildly at keyboard)… hang on… wheeze… I couldn’t care less what the temperature might be on Saturday… always wrong anyway… best wind back a notch, 4mph should do it… (Comedy lunge forward) iChat? What’s that when it’s at home? (Another lunge.) Puff, pant. Good: laptop back to Word, treadmill back to a stroll. Much better. This I can cope with… until the phone rings!
Call me old-fashioned but, leaving aside the desperate gasping for oxygen, it felt rude to take a phone call while otherwise occupied. Obviously, from time to time, we all do it – washing up, opening the post, performing base bodily functions – but I wouldn’t want to make it a habit.
On balance, I think that perhaps the desk treadmill is not for me.