Last July we were in Seattle playing tourist. Scott, Laura, Gracie and I decided to visit the World of Wearable Art exhibit at the EMP museum in the Seattle Center. It was a sunny day and we were walking across the grassy grounds when we observed Gracie exhibiting very unusual behavior. She would stare, STARE at her phone and veer away from us, walking purposefully to some imaginary point and stand there, staring at her phone. We politely waited several times, then finally Scott couldn’t it any more. “Gracie, what in the world are you doing?”
She looked up from her phone and gazed at us a little dazzled, like she just realized we were there, “Huh? Oh. Playing Pokemon.” Her attention was drawn magnetically back to the screen.
“Oh, right.” Said Laura as if this made perfect sense. Scott and I just looked at each other.
“You are playing Pokemon on your phone? Like the little cards you played with in second grade?” I asked.
Laura explained. It turns out Pokemon Go had just been released THAT VERY DAY, and was much anticipated among their age group.
I asked Laura if this included trading cards? No, she explained, you catch monsters, then she wandered over to watch Gracie play.
Scott and I watched them, chatting, visiting, pointing at…. well, apparently nothing.
A month later we were in Maui for a family reunion. We were walking down the streets of touristy Lahaina. Gracie, nose to phone was busy catching monsters. We passed a shop where a young man nodded at Grace, “Which team?” He asked.
“Mystic,” She barely glanced up.
That was the end of the exchange, it was a little surreal.
Full disclosure, by this time I had the app on my phone, and Gracie would point out monsters to me, “Mom! A Pikachu!” I got excited because I didn’t have one. I was collecting monsters. I knew the water tower behind our house was a Pokestop. I knew playing Pokemon was a fun distraction in the airport, or on long drives (if you drive slow enough….). And when asked by a student at my school if I knew what Pokemon Go was, and I responded, “Of course, I am a level 26,” they were suitably impressed.
But then I started noticing young people around Tacoma walking around, almost zombie like, nose to phone! I mean on beautiful sunny days on the coastal trails. In green grassy parks. They missed the herons and the boats and the children playing on the beach. They were not talking. It made me kind of sad.
I found out after a few weeks that besides catching, collecting, evolving and hatching eggs, you were supposed to have the monsters battle each other at “gyms.” I wasn’t sure about that. In the end, Gracie deleted the app before I did, she was back in school and life was going on. I will say, while brief, it was fun.