Sometimes you have to follow the clues without knowing where it will take you…
It is typical isn’t it? You go for years without meeting a multi-millionaire, and then you meet two in the space of a month. As part of my day job as a consultant, I briefly aligned orbits with two very wealthy men.
Okay, okay, I was in the same room as these two plutocrats. Once each. It is not as if I have been invited to their yachts (if indeed they do have yachts). We spoke. Drank coffee from the same pot. We are on first tame nerms.
And no, these aren’t famous wealthy people. You probably won’t have heard of them. It wasn’t David Beckham or Richard Branson or any of the blokes (or ladies) from Dragon’s Den. They are just quietly wealthy.
Put it this way – after one meeting I walked with one of them to the car park. I was trying to remember where I had parked my little hatchback. My new acquaintance was trying to spot where his driver had parked his ginormous limo. Our worlds intersected for a brief moment, but not by much.
In situations like this, I can’t help taking a little peak at the trappings and manifestations of wealth. The suit, the car, the exquisite cuff links.
And the watch. I am fascinated by watches. For centuries a pocket watch was the sign of immense wealth and standing in society. Then mechanisation made them both cheap and incredibly accurate. Amazon will cheerfully sell you a perfectly serviceable watch for less than £10. And yet people will pay tens of thousands for a watch that is no more accurate that a bargain basement cheapie.
What kind of watch would you expect our first zillionaire to be wearing? Something incredibly glitzy, Swiss, eye-wateringly expensive?
Nope. He was wearing one of these …
What the ???? is that? It was smart, discreet, enigmatic, sexy as hell (to a bloke anyway).
So I googled it. At first, I couldn’t find it. I trawled my way through dozens of expensive watch websites looking for something vaguely similar. I found lots of frankly ridiculously expensive watches, but no luck.
My mind does back flips when it finds a mystery like this. Maybe this was the sign of membership to some secret organisation? Didn’t SPECTRE henchmen all have distinguishing tattoos or something like that?
Until I started to notice people (including my second millionaire) wearing these …
And then the penny dropped. Or in this company, the flawless diamond dropped. These are activity trackers. The first is a Misfit Shine, apparently, and the second is a Fitbit Flex. They measure the number of steps that you take each day, which motivates you to exercise more.
A sexy wearable piece of technology which helps you to lose weight, get fit and send the grim reaper an “on vacation” auto reply. What’s not to like?
The Mem and I were sorely tempted. Just as our teenage son is shooting upwards, we are beginning to droop down and sideways. We had been looking for a form of exercise that didn’t involve squeezing our inappropriate bodies into latex or looking at people with far more appropriate bodies in latex.
I tried to tell her that there were benefits to sharing space with fit young bodies in tight latex, but she was having none of it. We are now proud owners of one Fitbit Flex (the Mem) and one Fitbit Charge (yours truly). We ceremonially clamped them to our wrists at the same moment … let the competition begin.
There have been one or two odd moments along the way. That lovely department store John Lewis will sell you a Fitbit Flex for £79.95 if you want it in red or blue, but it’s only £64.95 for the far more iconic black. It is the same story with the Charge, which is either £69.99 for the “slate” coloured wristband or £99.95 for the other colours.
That was an easy decision. We’ll have a black Flex for the Mem and a slate Charge for the birthday boy.
It does give rise to the occasional social issue. For one thing, there is the “celebratory throb”. When you reach your target for the day, your Fitbit gives you a little congratulation buzz. It’s quite a thrill when it first happens, like a little “well done” pat on the back.
But do be careful how you react to this. It can come as a surprise if it happens while you are with someone and you give out a “When Harry met Sally” oooh of delight. No, no, it’s not you, it’s me. Or rather it’s my Fitbit throbbing.
On second thoughts, maybe not.
The other burning question is whether you should wear it whilst making lurve. On the one hand, you wouldn’t want to miss getting the credit for all that wonderful exercise. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to give your partner the impression that you had an ulterior motive for your energetic performance.
This could add a new piquancy to that oft-repeated domestic scene…
“Are you tired?”
“No. Shall we go to bed then?”
“Steps, steps, steps, that’s all you think about. You only love me for the amount of calories we burn together.”
“But, my honey, my sweet, I am only five minutes away from my daily target for vigorous exercise and you do know how much I love to get that Fitbit throb…”
The real reason for buying our Fitbits is that we are now we are part of the secret society. The next time I am in a meeting with a gazillionaire, I can discretely shoot my cuff to reveal the sleek slate throbbing band on my wrist.
And the plutocrat will probably inwardly scoff that I’ve gone for the cheapskate colour.