I snag a parking space near the central stoplight and start off to Tonge Row. More people are milling about here, index fingers swiping furiously on touch screens. I run into Dan, a summer theatre friend. We chat a while as he captures a Zubat on the thirtieth try. "I've used all my Pokéballs," he moans. Middle schoolers ask us which team we are on - I learn that there are three teams and opponents can battle one another at local gyms, which might be a church or some random building. All around us, on grassy hills and any available seating, are phone-wielding Pokémon trainers. Two port-a-johns are set up in the parking lot so these crowds might find some relief.
Stephanie arrives, followed shortly by Justin and Nathan. We move to a nearby table, straddling two distinct worlds of Americana music lovers on one side and pocket monster collectors on the other. We talk, observing the crowd of nearly forty people staring at their phones. A group of young men attempt to sell water from their tailgate cooler. A dating couple sits nearby, independently catching Pokémon together.
We are joined by Rachel, just finishing her shift at work. She is intrigued by the fact that we are having a real conversation amongst ourselves, phones securely out of sight. So she joins us and becomes a friend.