So everyone knows I am utterly obsessed with Pokémon Go atm. I have done quite unnatural things. Nothing sinister or tragic, yet, but I have been caught in public quite a few times trying to snag one. And I hate looking conspicuous in public.*
I have had a few disparaging looks. I have had to stop suddenly while walking through the city. I have varied my route to work (and home) every day.
On Monday I said to a workmate who had joined team “Valor” or “red” as he called them — “Valor is the team Adolf Hitler would have joined.”
“How do you even know what the teams are even called?” he replied. And later he implied that I had committed some form of workplace harassment**.
On an all-day pokémon-expedition on Saturday Dee and I were so low on battery we had to source a free charger in the city and then we just sat around in this tragic food-court beside a BIG W for 30 minutes. (It seemed like 2 hours.) It was both pathetic and awesome at the same time.
Like everyone else from Wednesday two weeks back we saw these random pokémon references in our socials. These pictures on instagram of a pokémon “in the wild”, so to speak. When I knew it was getting ridiculous was when I read an online story on the Friday imploring poké-hunters to get themselves a portable battery lest you retire from the hunt prematurely. That night Dee and I were getting toasty on the couch and had run out of things to watch on Netflix so I suggested we download the app and give it a go.
And I thought, “I like walking! This could be mildly amusing. Even just to see Dee get excited!”
As soon as I said it I realised there was something of an ambit claim in my thinking. To my absolute shock Dee said, “Why not.”
See Dee grew up with pokémon, but for me, it had come a bit too late. Still — I love all things Japan kawaii. And cartoons/anime especially.
HUNTING & TRAGEDY
Pretty soon we donned sensible footwear and clothing and headed out into the dark. Our street was pretty dark as far as pokémon were concerned, but down the road was something interesting. Soon we found our first gym. It was weird to see this tiny park was now a tiny centre of some virtual universe. Dee knew more about the rules than me. “We should head to the park,” she said. We smashed ahead, or stumbled it should be said. We searched all the parks within 3 kms from our house. We didn’t get one single pokémon. Despite running back and forth across Milton Road (one of the busiest in Brisbane).
Because the app was only installed on my phone we were constantly transferring that phone between us. And of course it got dropped onto the concrete footpath. I picked it up to see that the screen was horribly cracked — even in the gloom all around. I was pretty “zen” about it at the time, but pretty soon I thought — “I don’t want to be *those people* with the cracked screen.” NO!
To me a cracked screen is like an albatross around my neck. It implies stuff. I have prided myself on having four iPhones over seven or so years and not one got a cracked screen. I’ve never even had a case. I take care of my shit. Yet now I was suddenly clumsy, a drunkard, a douchecanoe, a Mr Magoo. I got that screen fixed the very next day.
[And that cracked iPhone screen cost $179) A screen which is seemingly so “cheap” it doesn’t work with polarised sunglasses. Like the screen is completely invisible.
So as you can imagine, this means I have to PARK those glasses. Ugh.]
By Sunday evening I was so hooked we now had separate pokémon accounts.
THE CRAZY STUFF
1) I met this guy on Saturday who runs a venue in the Valley right under a poké-stop. He now reckons his business is booming and now has a LINE ITEM poké-coins to buy lures so his bar is constantly lit up for poké-hunters.
[I know the press have been complaining that poké-stops are at Arlington Cemetery and a Holocaust monument (eek) but I have this feeling that the real story will hit soon. The seemingly arbitrary allocation of poké-stops will lead to some consternation in the business community. All the cafes and restaurants and bars that are just outside the poké-stop — while their competitors are right under it — will feel deprived. If this phenomenon has some longevity — this could really be an issue.]
2) I have been at a poké-stop where a lure has just been set off and seen a car pull up where the occupants were just there obviously trawling the neighbourhood for lures to improve their chances of catching.
3) Personally Dee and I have only ate out over these past two weeks where the restaurant had a poké-stop directly on top so we could eat and either set off a lure, or take advantage of the current lures. Then catch them all!
4) Dee and I were in the Queen Street Mall last Saturday and stopped to catch something and the place was teeming so we were just nabbing them wholesale. There were so many poké-stops within range with lures going crazy. When we eventually ran out of prey we looked up and realised about 10 other people were doing exactly the same as us within spitting distance. We chatted to a bunch of them — one being this brother and sister. The brother had an arm in a sling. He had run into a parked car trying to catch a pokémon and got a wrist fracture — before he realised you could still snare a pokémon without getting right up in their grill. (I made that mistake too). The sister asked what team we were on and I said, “We’re both on Mystique and we both chose that team independently!” I said.
“It must be TRUE LOVE,” she replied — slightly lispy because of her braces.
5) After gushing about how hooked I was I asked my boss if his eldest kid was into it. (She’s 11). “No, I think she’s too old for it.” SNAP!
6) The Server Meltdown of Tuesday, July 12, meant a totally wasted walking-commute to work. I could have listened to music, or devoured a podcast or two. But instead I tried to log on to the server every 50 steps. I was LIVID. For the next few hours I could not get out of my head how many pokémon I had missed catching.
I was so depressed I wrote a song about it. Key of C minor of course.
7) On that very Tuesday, (before I realised the server was fucked) I had bumped into our neighbour who has two kids aged about 8 and 11. I asked if they were into pokémon. She had no idea what I was talking about. “What? It’s all over the news. It’s changed the world,” I said — and I was only half-exaggerating. The next day I get a call from the youngest asking to go get some pokémon. My neighbour had had her revenge. So I set off an incense and took them for a walk up and down the street until they had captured a few.
8) I have made so many new friends. It’s like how in Fight Club you know someone else is in Fight Club cause their face is super-beat-up. And you do this little nod at them saying, “I know, but I am not gonna say anything about it cause of that RULE #1”. And when iPods came out it was just like that because of the white ear-phones. But this time you can tell obviously someone is out chasing pokémon cause they are walking around with their phone held out in front of them desperately looking down hoping for stuff. And they are wandering around parks in the dark. Or they are sat as inconspicuously as possible at poké-stops or poké-gyms.
I have shared so many smiles, and nods, and hellos and even this. This woman was coming towards me, make 20 metres away, and I just held up my screen (which was a huge green halo in that dark) and she did the same. When we met in the middle we just chatted pokémon. “What have you found?” “What’s nearby?” And when she replied to the “What level are you up to?” I was so disgusted I said, “Oh — you are so dead to me.” I headed off and she laughed.
9) There are poké-masters out there who see it as a business opportunity. They are hoarding stardust and super-upgraded pokémon to sell once the fabled trading system gets released. I met one of these guys at the RE. He and some mates were just hanging around lures and using the pub’s powerpoint to charge their phones so they could go out hunting again. That guy told me so many tips I bought him a drink.
* As a kid I hating being in the city with my mum, cause we both had the same bright ginger hair and I assumed everyone was looking at us knowing definitively that we were mother and son. Ugh. I was so introverted it was appalling that a stranger could instantly know something so personal about me with just a glance. And so I made my mother walk a few steps ahead. TRUE STORY. Don’t worry — I have kinda got over that.