This traffic advisory was shown over a town in Florida recently. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

How 'Pokemon Go' hijacked date night

Is no one too proud for this game?
By: 
Jul. 20, 2016

While my wife and I were preparing to go on a date Saturday night, my 6-year-old daughter asked, “Why do you want to get rid of us? You don't want your kids around?”

“No, it’s nothing like that,” my wife, Hailey, said. “We just want to go on a date.”

Later that evening, we went to dinner and a wedding reception. Then, we drove around for a while. What a lovely evening! I was saying something extremely important, something soulful and wise and romantic, when I happened to glance over at Hailey, who was staring at her phone.

“Whoa!” she said. “What’s a Wild Ghastly?”

“A wild what?” I said. Then it became clear. “Are you playing ‘Pokemon Go’ on our date?”

She sort of stammered and then laughed and wonderful, guilty laugh.

As we drove on State Road 100, she pointed out all the Gyms, where you can apparently battle other Pokemon that you’ve collected.

“Look, the Panera Bread drive-thru is a Pokestop,” she said. “So is the mural at Panda Express. They’re everywhere!”

“Well, I’m glad you can amuse yourself on our date,” I said.

“I just play so I can connect with my kids,” she said.

“Uh huh.”

This game is taking over the world: It’s the biggest mobile game sensation ever — bigger than “Candy Crush.” It’s causing people in California to fall off cliffs, and later we learned that it’s at the center of gunshot incident in the P section of Palm Coast.

“Don’t just jump over the ball,” Hailey said to a birdlike creature she was trying to catch on her screen.

I admit I was growing curious. “So, what exactly happens at a Gym?” I asked.

Hailey didn’t know.

Our eyes met. We knew what we had to do.

With Hailey's Pokemon avatar as navigator, we were led to City Marketplace, where the fountain in front of Cue Note Billiards is a Gym.

“Uh, oh,” she said. “This is a Level 2 Gym. I’m not sure I can do that.”

But she forged on, battling Pokemon as though her life depended on it. She was losing badly, and she said, “Where are my kids when I need them? I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m just dying!”

“Uh huh,” I said, secretly typing away on my own phone.

“Wait,” she said. “Are you writing a column about this right now?”

“Maybe.” (We all have our little amusements, right?)

We felt a bit silly as we left the City Marketplace parking lot — until we noticed a pickup truck with two men inside swiping at their own phones. Apparently no one is too proud for this game. Maybe not even me …