No Chime to Sit Still

I think like a lot of Dads I believe that time stands still when it comes to my daughters. Not that it takes just short of an eternity to get their coat on and out of the front door, but in that despite their age and their size, in my mind they are still small babies.

That idea came and bit me in the…back a few years ago when I was lowering my eldest into her cot. Thinking she was still only a few kilos in weight (sorry, mass) I forgot about my own age and completely did my back in whilst doing it. I could hardly move and blah blah yeah I’m an old man with back problems – and yes, I’ve been asked whether I could run faster than dinosaurs and is that why I’m still alive, Daddy?

So frequent trips to the chiropractor are still on-going. Another sign of my age, that it’s taking blimming yonks for my lower back to get back to the young agile state it was in when I was running circles around those pesky dinosaurs. Sadly, a sign of our present (geological) era is that many of us – and that includes myself – sit still in cars, trains and behind computer monitors instead of moving about around catching, skinning and barbecuing woolly mammoths. And that’s not good for our backs (though admittedly it’s probably good for the woolly mammoths).

Don't stand still
No time to stand still. Image credit:

When I first sought help for my back, the physiotherapist had no idea what was wrong with me (admittedly, many psychologists might not know what’s wrong with me either) – but her solution was to drink lots of water. It’s healthy stuff, and it makes you stand up to go to the toilet (or stand up to walk to the toilet – whether you sit or stand is up (or down) to you). It’s a good idea, but it wasn’t getting to the core of the problem which is why I’m now going to the chiropractor (actually, this one – so visit it, like it, share it etc. – though be warned it’s not only in Dutch, it is actually in Holland 😉 )

And it’s going very well, and on the last visit I was encouraged to entertain a visit from a little green man…

The little green man.

The idea is that we set the hourly chime so that we’re reminded every hour that we should stand up and take a break from sitting down. Give our back a rest. I commented that hearing a beep every hour on the hour would probably annoy my office-mates, so needless to say I was well up for the idea!

ready to chime

Here he is in situ on my keyboard. Notice timeless juxta-positioning of old-fashioned pens and pencils under the monitor, as well as a princess doll thing my daughter (aka back-cruncher) gave me to take to work to keep me company.

So. Against a few principles I set the chime, and for the 10 minutes before it was due to sound I sat glued to the LCD screen waiting for it to show :00, then I could stand up and move around. You may have spotted the irony that in trying the heal / prevent the inflexibility in my back I was displaying a ludicrous display of inflexibility in my timing…

A relaxing stroll to the coffee machine.

Anyway. The beep sounded, my room-mate gave me a growl and a disparaging look of contempt so I duly stood up and fled. (A note to save my dignity; he’s a big chap with big muscles, a rotweiler for a cuddly toy and an automatic machine gun under his desk. Fleeing the scene is the only way to ensure that my time doesn’t come prematurely.)

After the first few hundred meters I slowed down and stole a look behind me. Despite a slight graze to my left earlobe, most knives were now missing me by a large enough margin that I could steal a quick breather. My back might be getting better, but my heart was clapping in my ears and my lungs were burning. No wait. That would be the flame balls whizzing past me. Douglas Adams’ deadlines would have much more preferable, but by a startling coincidence and against all (OK, most) odds, I was rescued by a certain Heart of Gold and delivered panting in a pool of my own perspiration by the coffee machine where I seemed to be safe.

I chatted and gossiped with fellow colleagues there about anything interesting that may have happened to us recently (one lady had had a new haircut) and I returned a little sheepishly and cautiously to my desk.

And found this:

running out of chime

I’m afraid – very afraid – of what will happen the next time the hourly chime sounds, but the chances are that I won’t be sitting around…


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