Yes, I have been sick all day, but the thing that finally got me out of bed instead of watching another episode of Mariska Hargitay in TVs Law & Order, SUV was a game of Pokemon Go!
My nephews signed up on the verge of it being released.
Monday morning, a co-worker of mine was already enticing us–then, I humbly promised to download the app and see where all the Poke sites were in my neighborhood.
I have/had a summer cold. I called in sick yesterday to rest up all day. I slept for 19 hours.
Around 3 PM, I need to order in ramen or do something. Doing something today was downloading the app. Had to sign in with my Gmail account, but who cares? Google knows where I live. There was some exploration to be done. Turns out? My neighborhood–in San Francisco’s Mission District is filled with murals. You can’t walk anywhere without bumping into one. So, that’s pretty much all you do if you go outside–and should you? No, but should you go outside and EXPOSE yourself to the points, giggles and laughter? No.
Why? Because it sucks for you if you’re an introvert and have to hear the extroverts on the street yelling: “Haha, I just seen that older chick play Pokemon Go. Lookit.”
“How can you tell?”
“She’s pounding her iPhone in front of a newsstand over a bicycle.”
There’s no smooth way to do it.
It makes me more nervous to go out there in fear of the burly dudes at Burning Man headquarters telling me to quit loitering. Then, oh, then, I have to watch out for the random walking-texter who is not paying attention either ready to bump into me and my Zubat. Worse yet: in San Francisco, you have to put that phone back in your pocket while walking by homeless encampments. Seriously: there’s a big one right in front of one of those murals on Harrison Street. I am in the bicycle lane–respectfully away from the tent, but close enough to grab some balls and run.
There is no choice but to get up off your butt and explore. You can’t play the game sitting on your butt to grab a Pokemon. The game wants you to get up and walk into a corner like a goofball. I tried it with the Zubat–which I renamed Esme-batzu (after my dog Esmé). I tried catching Zubat on the couch to no avail. Once I switched camera modes and got up and into the cupboard, there was no stopping me.
Pokemon Go is all about going–going to get up and get you. The dog barks when I know I am close.
Running out of free poke balls, I am forced to go outside. I take Esme and Esme-batzu with me. I tell Esme to sit while I grab another magical beast. We casually walk up the street to a mural, I get some balls, and I walk up to another mural. Turns out: we walk a total of 37 minutes.
Puzzled and bemused in the background are the Latino families, but the kids know what I am up to and sort of look on. I almost want to show a kid what I am up to, but fear the parents wouldn’t understand.
Anyhow, Pokemon Go will get you up and moving, but you’re better off rescuing a dog and taking her out for walks instead of your iPhone.
PLUSES: 1. You get to know the name of these murals. 2. You get steps in. The gamerfication of fitness at its best–or worst? 3. Fresh air. 4. Rewards and leveling up for doing more.
MINUSES: 1. You look like you’re trippin’ out on your device. 2. You look like a big dork. 3. You can get robbed. 4. Walking and texting aren’t safe actions.