“More like Pokemon NO.” This Facebook post of mine inspired a chorus of hating on Pokemon. The most common meme was a picture of a big toothy dog with the caption “Come into my yard and you’ll catch an Ibitechu.” But they misunderstood what I meant. I tried to play Pokemon that afternoon. The server crashed. I was sad. No Pokemon.
I mostly play in the company of Milo the AwesomeDog, my German Shepherd. He and I walk, for miles, every day. Pre-Pokemon we had our regular routes through the neighborhood and had fallen into a bit of a rut. But now, we are exploring new streets and paths in search of Pokestops and Pokemon. I had always mixed obedience training into our walks. I still do, but now it looks like this: I see a Rattata, and put Milo, my actual big monster, into a down-stay while I capture the virtual little monster. Milo gets a cookie and I get experience points, and we head off hunting again.
I like to track things. I cross off days on my calendar before holidays. I have a spreadsheet to keep track of how many words I write everyday. My phone counts my steps, and the kilometers I walk, and the number of floors I climb. It even puts all that information in a chart. That’s a good phone. Pokemon Go counts all sorts of things too. I earned a Jogger Medal for the first 10 km I walked while playing. It takes 2 or 5 or 10 km of walking to incubate an egg, which, when it hatches gives you a Pokemon or some sort of virtual goodies. It keeps track of these things in lists and charts. That’s a good game.
I live in a neighborhood with lots of seniors. I first opened the Pokemon App about a week ago. There was a Drowzee in my front yard and I was wandering around trying to figure out how to catch it. Lloyd from across the street yelled over, “What the heck are you doing?” So I wandered across the street and sort of hung my head while I told him what I was playing. He barked out a laugh. His grandkids are big fans. Henry was there too. He worried, “I don’t know if I like this. People wandering around at 4 o’clock in the morning, getting in trouble.” I told him that if I was out getting in trouble at 4 AM it wouldn’t be with Pokemon. That got a laugh. In fact, nothing short of a natural disaster would get me out of bed at 4 AM.
This morning I walked outside to get something from the car. Lloyd yelled over, “What level are you on?” I yelled back, “Five!” He’s cheering for me.
Friends from work play too. I have a weekly Pokemon play date/walk with Milo and our friend Shannon. We amble through one of the prettiest neighborhoods in town, which just happens to be full of PokeStops. She’s been playing much longer than I have and is showing me the ropes. I think of her as my Pokementor.
Pokemon folds right into what keeps me healthy and happy: walking with Milo, exploring my town, chatting with neighbors, and hanging out with friends.
During the workday Carla Fehr studies the relationship between social justice, and science and technology. She spends most of the rest of her time learning about and working on dog training, dog sports, and all things German Shepherd related. She also squeezes in time for crafting, baking, piano lessons, and afternoon naps.