I see people everywhere, in town, on my dog walks and along the road when I’m riding — faces buried in their Smart Phones connected to what I imagine — Pokemon Go. For those living under a rock, Pokemon Go is a new mobile game based on the classic Pokemon game and uses a variety of technologies and approaches (GPS location and augmented reality to name a couple) to create a game where you have to move and explore to reach your goals.
Move and explore. Sound like riding a scooter or motorcycle. I’ve heard a lot of funny comments, criticisms and head shaking disbelief aimed at the Pokemon Go players. But as I think about it the same is probably going on between non-riders as they look at those ego-driven, risk taking, crazy motorcycle riders. Scooter riders get a pass because people seem to think they aren’t dangerous and completely safe.
Another form of ignorance but a topic for another day.
I downloaded Pokemon Go last night to see first hand what the fuss was about. During the setup process they inquire of your age. I thought I was going to see a message stating I was too old to play the game.
After just a little time with the game I can see why people may get obsessed — there’s an interesting discovery and reward system that happens as you venture through the real world on foot. I’ve read that for some people the game has revealed to them their towns and communities.
Just like a ride on a scooter or motorcycle.
My friend Paul and I were on a little exploration of our own — a trip to the weekly livestock auction in Belleville, Pennsylvania.
One of the nice things about riding a scooter or motorcycle in central Pennsylvania is always being able to find a place to park. Even if it’s in the weeds.
The Belleville Livestock Auction is a weekly event at a fixed location where you can buy and sell livestock in the auction barn or take part in the outdoor market where everything from produce to DVDs to guns are sold. Like the bazaars of the Mideast and Africa, this is an American version.
The wares offered are as varied as the people who come to buy and sell them. I didn’t see anyone playing Pokemon Go — probably because of the weak to non-existent cell coverage, but there’s plenty of opportunity to walk around and discover.
Belleville is in the heart of Amish country so it’s no surprise to see horses and buggies everywhere. And just as the English scour the market for treasure so do the Amish. I saw a small cadre of young boys bartering for a haul of fireworks — loot that transcends religion and culture.
Lots of people gather in the summer heat searching for bargains and necessities. Paul and I wandered along toward breakfast at Margie’s Restaurant.
There’s a definite streak of independence in parts of the market. One vendor had an extensive collection of marijuana sacks for sale along with a host of other symbols outside the mainstream. Eavesdropping on conversations I thought I would hear some conservative leanings but in terms of the presidential election everything I heard was a similar disgust and dismissal of both candidates. At least the ones talking out loud.
A few miles down the road we stopped at another outdoor market with a different collection of wares. For someone like me who’s hoping to rid his life of stuff these markets offer only deeper sinking into the mud. Paul found a light he plans to mount on his ’64 Vespa.
I generally shy from crowds and events like these — an intentional move away from the noise and chaos of assemblies of people. But when I do find myself wandering such places I try and take in the details. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone playing the accordion. This fellow was there to entertain.
The ride provided a fair amount of discovery and exploration — something like Pokemon Go but different. The wandering through the markets provided some exercise too. If someone doesn’t want to play the game, maybe a scooter or motorcycle would be a fine second choice — a Pokemon Go alternative.
Just go for a ride.