Look fam, last week was rough. You watched Black people gunned down by police every day in different cities across the country, 5 police officers were killed after what had been a peaceful protest, and you probably found yourself in more than one unsolicited “All Lives Matter” conversation. We’re there with you. While digesting all of this pain, we have found moments to steal some joy back for ourselves, following the lead of our colleague Lauren Bullock’s column about the Blackest Joy in the form of Pokémon Go. We’re bringing you 7 days of Pokémon Go, our testimonies and our spontaneous moments of delight that have helped us get by. Catch our week-long series here.
A couple days after that “Train On” video hit me with a wave of nostalgia, I bought a Nintendo 3DS and ran through Pokémon Alpha Sapphire in what felt like 72 hours. So when I heard that I’d get to walk around the real world and put in that work with Pokémon GO, I was excited, to say the least. After displaying the patience of a saint for two days after server and iPhone issues, I was able to get the ball rolling. But there was a problem.
I live in a barren wasteland where I can only hope to find trash-ass, grass-type and the occasional Pidgey. And I will not waste a lure just to be flooded with Kakunas. I’ll be damned!
For those that are curious, I call Chicago’s Park Manor neighborhood home. It’s where I grew up, met most of my closest friends and always find myself coming back to. It’s a few blocks north of Chatham, which Chance the Rapper’s recently made famous, and a few blocks East of Englewood, which is famous for… other reasons.
In case you think I’m making this up, I’ve included a screenshot of my neighborhood through the Pokemon Go app and used the one gym we have as a central location to show just how much of a drought we’re in over here.
Oh, by the way, that gym is my job. And those two Poke Stops that I’ve been forced to hit 3 times a day? Also my job. Aint a damn thing worth exploring as far as the eye[phone] can see.
While I was hearing stories of people literally finding Pokémon in their bedrooms, I probably clocked three miles pacing around the crib just to come out empty-handed. The feeling of defeat almost consumed me entirely and made me retire early from my days as a Pokémon Go trainer. Luckily, my friends talked me out of deleting and I just put the app on ice for a while.
Then, as part of my birthday celebration, we all met up in Hyde Park to take an Uber up Lake Shore Drive for a happy hour. I decided to show the app to a friend of mine in the backseat in hopes they’d have better luck than myself. You should’ve seen the look on my face when I realized that the closer we got to downtown the more of a Pokémon goldmine Chicago became.
I went from only having my starter and a Paras I caught in the McDonald’s drive-thru to having a roster 15-deep just from a 20-minute car ride! I’m talking a complete transformation in regards to Pokemon appearances. It was like I went from the Sahara to the Garden of Eden. That’s when it hit me. Since they clearly won’t come to me, I had to go to them and clean house.
So, sometime this week, I’m meeting up with some friends, taking the train to the heart of the city and grinding it out for a good couple hours just to come back to work the next day and run the entire block. If you’ve experienced similar droughts, consider doing the same and let us know how that works.