Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Traveling Treadmill Desk Goes to Dodge Park

Scenes from Dodge Park today*
Click any image to view them all larger
* ("today" being a few days ago when I wrote this)

My Traveling Treadmill Desk Goes to Dodge Park
           Recently I read several articles about treadmill desks.  You stand at a special desk doing your work (or play) and walk along on a special slow-paced treadmill, killing two bird with one stone.  You get your work done and you get some exercise, too. And, elsewhere, I read that if you walk at a pace that is comfortable for you, you can be smarter, more creative and more productive.   What could be better? 
           My own personal "treadmill desk" could be better for me.  It allows me to work and simultaneously get exercise, be creative and productive, and see an ever-changing scene.  The desk is air, the treadmill is the sidewalks, paths, roads and floors I travel along as I walk.  I have a small "palmtop" computer called a Psion that allows me to write while walking, which is what I am doing right now. 
             Today, the treadmill slipping under my feet is the plowed and paved multi-use path along the Clinton River at Dodge Park.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the river is flowing past but there is almost no one else here, maybe because there's a foot of snow on the ground.  I have the whole park to myself.
           One problem with my treadmill desk is the temperature control knobs.  They're non-existent, and it is twenty degrees and windy.  That's 20 degrees Fahrenheit, way below freezing.  My fingers get cold when I write.  Since I can’t type with gloves on, I have to warm my hands in my pockets between sentences.
            Although today, the sky is blue and the sun is shining, other days, I can't control the snow or rain that falls on my "treadmill desk."  I could, however, choose to use my "treadmill desk" at the mall, or, if I could afford a gym membership, doing laps at the gym (not my favorite activity, but still better than an actual treadmill for a change of scene.)
            Another disadvantage of my "treadmill desk" is that the Psion requires XP, and Microsoft is phasing out support for XP.  XP is the last windows that supports the Psion software necessary to download my work form the Psion.  Sadly, Macs do not work at all.
           On the Psion, I've written Cowbird stories (many never published due to computer and other issues), blog posts, flash fiction, poems, short stories and entire (as of yet unpublished) novels.  But my virtual-treadmill way of life may be coming to an end soon because of the lack of compatibility of the Psion with newer computers.
            I could never afford a real treadmill desk; they're bit pricey.  Even if I could, would I like it?  No trees, birds, flowers, dogs to greet and pet.  Then again, no freezing fingers, no rain, snow or wind, no sidewalks treacherous with snow and ice.  Okay, it might be nice sometimes in the winter.  No unbearable heat, sweatification, or bugs and less opportunity for beggars or thieves.  Okay, it might be nice during summer hot spells.
            But then I might miss people stopping me to say they see me all over town, miles from home.  They ask me, "Did you really walk there?"  Yep.  I walked.  And I carried my “desk” with me and wrote a chapter in current novel, while admiring the scenery between thoughts, words and sentences.
            I wonder if there's somewhere you could try out a treadmill desk, to see what it's like.  My husband says, probably not.  Manufacturers have learned that it's best to play on hype, notions and fads.  Most of these things, he says, end up at the curb when people discover that it's not as much fun as they imagined and involves real work and commitment.
           I have plenty of commitment for walking and writing.  I walk and I write every day.  But that commitment might not translate well to an indoor treadmill desk, and that's a lot of money to experiment with.  A moot point anyway, since we can't afford it.
            I like my own special "treadmill desk" anyway, with the big blue dome of sky overhead, the foot of snow underfoot (at the moment, since I'm off the paved trail), the river sliding by and ducks and geese paddling and talking quietly among themselves.


John said...

had never heard of treadmill desks. I guess it is a bit like running on a treadmill or being out on the road. I prefer the open, you experience so much more. Love the photographs!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Me, too, John, me too. I like being outside. (Although I am growing tired of winter.) And THANKS for your kind words.

a/k/a Nadine said...

I think I would use a treadmill desk, but it sounds like you already have a good system in place.