I’m not entirely sure how much people in cities and suburbs watch out for each other but, out here in the boonies, folks tend to notice anything out of place. Even something as simple as a curtain drawn when it “should” be open or a garbage can out of place may spark an inquiry. It’s not nosiness. People just like to make sure their neighbors aren’t ill or injured. And it’s that level of caring that makes me hate Pokémon Go.
This really is a tiny village so it didn’t surprise me that our youngest son ended up living with my next door neighbor’s granddaughter. Most of the kids who grow up here tend to stay. It’s a case of “you can take the village out of the kid but you can’t get the kid out of the darned village!”
Even if my son and R’s granddaughter hadn’t ended up cohabiting I know R would be watching out for us. She has since we moved in. In spite of the fact that my grove hides my home from hers in the summer I often get calls from her checking if something seems odd.
That was the case the other morning. I was in the shower when I heard my phone ring. After a few rings it stopped but immediately rang again. This is unusual so I finished up in the shower and checked my recent calls. Both were from R. Since she’s in her mid-70’s and has had a couple of bouts with cancer I called back immediately thinking she needed help. That wasn’t the case.
The second floor of her home is a rental unit and her tenant had called her that morning to say she saw something very strange the night before. The tenant was coming home from town and saw a man standing in my driveway, way down by the road. He was smoking a cigarette and had his phone in his hand.
I would, of course, have preferred to find out about him while he was actually there but knowing he’d been there at all was important. The tenant recognized him as a young man who lives across the road from R. He’d graduated with our oldest son and, although a bit eccentric, he’d never seemed dangerous. Yet, there he’d been at 10:30 p.m.skulking at the grove edge of my driveway.
R and I spent about 30 minutes discussing his strange behavior in the past and speculating about why he’d been in my driveway. R told me that she’d seen footprints in the dew going from her driveway all the way to her barn just a couple of days earlier. We were more than a little concerned but there wasn’t much we could do at the time.
Later in the day I was talking with R’s granddaughter. And her explanation made it all clear. The reason this young man had been near R’s barn and in my driveway was you guessed it, Pokémon Go. This game which has caused traffic accidents and led people to step into traffic had also made this man trespass at least twice! It made perfect sense. His phone had been in his hand and he was moving it around. The tenant thought he was using it as a flashlight but the description made Andi sure it was that game!
Of course I was furious. No matter how many points he might score he’d be a real loser if I had seen him lurking there and played “Pokémon Got Shot.” This is not an area in which the sheriff tells you to sit tight and wait the 30 minutes or so before a deputy gets to you. In fact, most emergency calls are met with the question, “Well, don’t you have a gun?” In the village, after 6 o’clock in the evening you have to go to the village police headquarters and lift the phone on the back of the building. The operator then informs you that she’ll have our police force (Ed) meet you in the parking lot. We’re not really a high crime area as you can imagine but the authorities do expect folks to be capable of handling emergencies on their own for a good stretch.
So, my nervousness that our young neighbor had gone from eccentric to dangerous was quelled but my anger about his trespassing and that stupid game have not completely gone away. And if he shows up here in the night again, I may have to remind him that roly-poly old cripples are armed and cranky out here.
And that’s why I hate Pokémon Go.