Pokémon Go-ing

Allllll the Flareons.
Allllll the Flareons.

My little summer obsession, along with 90% of the smartphone-holding world: Pokémon Go.

I must have been a bit old for the Pokémon thing when it first came around, so I came into this a novice. I had no idea what, exactly, a Pikachu was, or why I should care. I’d also never played Ingress, so the whole augmented reality thing adds a new twist.

I’m a sucker for gamifying exercise. A Fitbit kept me motivated for years, and I still wear a Surge every day. I used to play Just Dance and Wii Fit; anything to distract myself from the mindless monotony that is exercise, really.

IMG_1347I’d been in a movement rut since moving north. I lost interest in the Wii, and the treadmill got boring when I ran out of shows to binge watch on Netflix. We live in a beautiful area, but exploring beyond our one, long road means going on hikes into the deep woods, and I’m not a fan of bugs. Plus there’s always the chance you’ll encounter a moose or a bear or another large, angry animal that wants you to GTFO. Don’t get me wrong; I love nature, I just love it best when I’m indoors.

But thanks to Pokémon, my step counts and active minutes are up (my Fitbit is all, “Who are you???”), and I actually have a tan from spending so much time outside.

A TAN. Me, with the vampire complexion. I haven’t had a tan since I was a kid.

You're mine, Snorlax.
You’re mine, Snorlax.

So of course, I roped Tim and Mom into playing, too. We don’t have any Pokémon or Pokéstops within walking distance, but there are lots in town (ahh, small-town USA — you can’t walk ten feet without running into a church). The kids enjoy helping us catch monsters and evolving new ones. It’s given us something to do during monotonous trips to town for groceries and errands; the other day, we hunted down and caught a Snorlax in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I once spotted a Scyther flying around the kids’ dance school, but didn’t get to it in time.

I’ve also been exploring my surroundings, finding excuses to hang out in areas I would have ignored before; Boston’s seaport area was fun (all the Magikarps!), and the last time I went to Bangor, I walked around downtown and the UMaine campus. I plan to take a mini road trip up Route 1 to look for Pokémon soon. Northern Maine has no shortage of churches and statues, many of which are Pokéstops.

Who knows how long this will keep me interested, but I’m enjoying the extra movement and the excitement of discovering new monsters while it lasts. I doubt I’ll ever be one of those people who’s “addicted” to exercise, but if I can find a way to make it palatable and semi-regular such that I don’t feel like a total Slowpoke (see what I did there?), I’m happy.


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