You’ve probably heard about the Pokémon Go app by now and you’re either trying to be the very best, like no one ever was, or you really want to slap the phone out of my hand.
Here’s the thing: the best part of the app is that the behaviors and gestures of someone else playing the game are obvious. The people who are playing, not so much.
Saturday evening, strolling down Colfax, a woman sitting on the stoop of the Days Inn called out “You get ’em, girl!” as I caught a Zubat. About 500 feet down the road, a huge White Escalade rolled down its windows and people leaned out the window and cheered at me while I caught another. I’m pretty sure that never happens to people playing Bejeweled.
On Sunday, I stopped at Mutiny Information cafe. The man behind the counter wasn’t sure if the Pokéstop nearby was bringing in more business, but he delightedly told us that he watched a five-year-old catch a Pikachu. In Goodwill, men sat flicking pokeballs, presumably waiting for their significant others to finish trying on clothes.
Outside Pie Hole, my boyfriend and I had a 10 minute conversation with a man in his 40s and a guy in his 20s. Did we catch the Growlithe? (Yes.) Had we seen a Graveler nearby? (No.) The younger man said that he controlled a gym nearby, but was threatened with a bat — like a real baseball one, not a virtual animal — after he held it for too long.
And even though it was actually the hottest July 10 ever, we spotted at least eight other people playing in Washington Park around 6 p.m.. Under a gazebo at the north end, a group of teenage boys told us we’d entered their lure. What team were we on? (Team Mystic ftw.)
We chatted a bit more and I joked about them not reading into their team choices enough. And you guys, they actually laughed. I don’t know when the last time I made a teenage boy laugh at something, but I have to assume it was… never. Not even at a middle school dance.
Later at a barbecue, I met man in his mid-20s who said he’d walked 38 miles in the last three days playing the game. While I didn’t fact-check him, I can say that his level (15) was much higher than mine (7).
So even if you’re on Team Valor or Team Instinct, I’m looking forward to talking to you on the street sometime soon. Not just because I want tips, either.