After thirty-five years of marriage, I am finally having an affair with a machine. No, not that kind of machine. Nor is it darling Data from “Star Trek,” or tender Robin Williams as the “Bicentennial Man.” For our thirty-fifth anniversary, I passed on my husband’s suggestion of a diamond necklace and opted for a Wii with a Fitness Bundle.
How do I love Wii? Let me count the ways.
Ever since this dream machine came into my home and was hooked up to our TV and computer source, I am literally hooked on it. I have been enthralled, nay, addicted, to this assemblage of wires and computer chips. The draw of this machine is as strong as an addiction. I who have never been interested in exercise in the least, now bound (perhaps that's too strong of a word. Roll? More like it) out of bed and go straight to the electronic balance board, my physical connection to the Wii. I turn on the modem, point the controller at the set, and an elfin voice welcomes me (or my avatar who might be called “Mini-mii&rdquo.
“Good evening, Lois,” (the clock is twelve hours off. I can't set the clock). “I see you’re here again. I admire your persistence.” Aw, shucks, Wii. You certainly know how to turn a Mii’s head.
Now comes the first choice of the day, train or measure? Measure of course, because before I eat breakfast, my BMI and weight will be lower. Just like skipping breakfast before a visit to the doctor's office, I want to impress my Wii with my self-restraint. Of course, as with any affair, there is always a level of deception .
“How heavy are your clothes?” I am wearing the sweat pants and shirt I generally sleep in. Come on, I’ve been married for thirty-five years! You were expecting a red lace teddy? Truthfully, the ensemble probably weighs a pound and a half but it feels heavier. I’m sure it’s heavier. At least four pounds,wouldn’t you say? Those are my defaults, two pounds or four pounds. I’ll go with the four.
Measure—-measure—measure. My BMI is normal! I’d hoped for less, but normal is good. And my weight has gone down 4 ounces. The Wii tries to be encouraging. Although I can tell it’s difficult to support such a small weight loss. “I see you’ve lost a little. Have you been snacking during the day?” Oh, Wii! You know me so well. I will do better. I will do better for I have you to answer to, and I cannot disappoint you, my Wii, my all.
I forgo the daily health tips (which at least once counseled me to look directly in the eyes of my pet, but I don’t have a pet, so the Wii may have another girl on the side.) Instead I go to training.
Which will it be? I’m still at the beginning level on most of the games, but I have achieved some “perfects” in kung fu and in marching. I believe I can attribute this to the drum major avatar, for who, least of all me, can resist a man in uniform. This morning, I discovered that I also enjoy boxing which says to me that I have an awful that of pent-up hostility since my favorite activities all involve punching something or someone.
Need I say that my competitive spirit kicks in, as well? Since my husband is also on the game, it pleases me no end that my scores on the games we both do generally exceed his scores. Of course, he's had a heart attack and a kidney transplant, but I'm still the girl whonts all A's and will take them — at any cost. The Wii, however,senses my bloodthirstiness and sides with my husband.
The other day it asked me if I had noticed an improvement in his posture. I told it I had seen no change. It asked me if I paid enough attention to him. My husband accused me of selling him out to the Wii. I hung my head in mortification and vowed to watch his posture more carefully while quietly cursing the Wii's powers of observation.
Are human and machine affairs ever successful? Think of HAL in “2001.” Think of the robot perfection of “The Stepford Wives.” There’s always a glitch. In the end, there’s always a gear or a cog gone haywire.
But meanwhile I will relish the time I spend with my machine, my love, my adored and adoring motivator. For it’s a matter of time before a Wiii comes on the scene with new inspiration for my aging yet virtually 35 year old (according to the Wii, seducer of mature women) body and I will turn away from my first console with the fickleness of my gender and the human species.