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A Secret Society

October 17, 2019

I know almost instantly. I see a group of people of varying ages standing in a circle, looking at their phones. They are in a park or in front of a store or on the steps of a government building. And I start to hustle toward them.

“Is there a raid?” I ask.


“Are you in?”

Nods. They look me up and down.

“93 seconds,” someone says. “Hurry up.”

What kind of weirdo questions and answers are these? I have to admit, my friends. I still play Pokémon Go, and so do lots of other people everywhere.

Pokémon Go took the world by storm 3 years ago. It’s a video game that is based on a map overlay of actual geography – there are Pokémon everywhere and there are spots where you need to perform certain tasks in the game everywhere, too. More in urban areas, fewer in rural areas, but you can open your game app anywhere and see the map of where you are and start hunting.

So last night, I was playing as I took a walk in a park when I happened on a raid group and played with them. We instantly fell into the language of the game, a language completely impermeable to those who do not play. We can talk for hours like this.

And last week, in Chincoteague, I met a group of townies – mostly little kids, young guys, and a couple parents – raiding one night. Then I went out the next night, figuring they would be meeting up again – and found them out and we walked around town together, playing the game, even though it was cold and a wicked wind was blowing.


Mortals, look upon my Shiny Giratina and weep.

The other thing about the game is that it is a way to keep in touch with friends all over. I collect “gifts” as I go about the game, and every day I send them to friends, who also send me gifts. Each gift is like a little postcard with a photo of where I found it, so my friends can see where I have been recently.

It’s a stupid game. You end up doing the same thing over and over. Only rarely does something interesting happen. But being part of a secret society and instant friends makes it all worthwhile.


  1. October 17, 2019 21:27

    Friend code 4829 3858 8606

  2. October 18, 2019 12:08


  3. Chroma permalink
    October 22, 2019 01:59

    My adult kids got me into playing. Seems like there’s a healthy number of older players like me. I’m glad they started making grey/white hair available for our player styles. =)

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