It was a blisteringly hot Thursday morning when my nine-year-old pupil pulled out a cell phone and opened an app saying, “There is a Ponyta in the area!” Having grown up in a Pokemon World, and knowing a good chunk of the original 151 pokemon, I said, “Wait, don't tell me you are playing that game that resulted in those two boys walking off an ocean bluff in Encinitas, led three girls to a dead body in San Diego Park, and is the culprit for all those stolen smartphones.” A few minutes later, I found myself in the Google Play store getting ready to download a game that was going to responsible for draining the power out of my cell phone and frequent, impromptu breaks at work.
If your town is anything like my small town, then you might have noticed the rise in groups of young people hanging around outside, cell phones in their hands while playing this game. The first thing I noticed was that the people playing also looked nerdy, so more power to the game developers that have come up with a game that gets ordinary people out of their homes in the middle of day and into public spaces.
I have been playing the game for a little over two weeks now and I am going to tell you three stories of firsthand accounts while playing the game.
Story One: The Rescinded Ride
While walking home after school, I decided to make a detour to a park where the Pokestops were ample. I also had a few eggs set up in incubators, so the extra steps would not have hurt. At one point, my friend and I were standing nearby a road when a minivan pulled up close to the curb and began reversing very quickly to our location. The window rolled down and I saw one of my former colleagues from a school I worked at say, “Hey! Are you guys okay? Do you need a ride?” I looked up and said, “Oh no, my car is up the hill, we're walking distance from this park. We are playing Pokemon GO!.” My colleague's face switched from concern to shock followed by, “Oh, in that case, Never Mind!” The car sped away very quickly leaving me in a situation where I knew I would have some explaining to do to avoid any future work confrontations.
Story Two: The Last Pokestop
At the very end of a Friday night, I goaded my fellow pokemon trainer to walk to one last pokestop even though it was in a poorly lit area. As we approached the fence, I noticed a van parked on the roadside adjacent to the pokestop location. I exclaimed, “Look! It is right there, next to that creepy looking van.” But as we walked closer, I just realized how awful it would be if strange-looking vans got in the habit of parking next to pokestops after the sunset.
Story Three: The Religious Place of Worship
The award for the most haunting story goes to an out of the way that was supposedly located in the inside of a faith-based church. Curiosity won over my best judgement, so I said, “Let's walk close to the location, pick up what we can from across the street, and then head back.” My phone kept telling me the stop was too far away, so I began walking closer. There was a barricade in front of the parking lot that I refused to cross, but it did not stop my friend. I started to get a gut-wrenching bad feeling about the whole scenario because I began to believe that the pokestop was located inside the church and that we would have to trespass much further than would make me feel comfortable. I stood my ground and refused to walk any closer. The whole encounter with the pokestop located in the church reminded me of a set-up for a horror movie.
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kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Aug. 22, 2016
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