I’m worried there’s a Pokémon in my attic.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, Pokémon Go is the latest game craze. As far as I understand it, there are invisible Pokémon hiding all over the world. To find them, you have to download an app onto your smartphone. You then “see” the Pokémon using the phone’s camera function. You catch the Pokémon by throwing red and white striped Poké balls at them.
And no, I’m not making this up.
If you follow the news, you’ll know that people have engaged in some questionable behavior while searching for Pokémon. One driver crashed into a parked police car. Another was searching in the woods in the early morning and stumbled upon a dead body. Countless have been mugged while wandering down dark alleys in the middle of the night. Some have even walked off cliffs in their pursuit of the cartoon monsters.
Officials of the 9/11 Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum have asked—no, begged—people to stop playing Pokémon Go at their sites, and are asking the game to remove the Pokémon from what anyone with a brain would consider sacred ground. And that’s not to mention the Pokémon in New York City located in areas that are hot zones for drug busts and overdoses, and the one near the entrance to Rikers Island Prison.
So all this has got me thinking—what if there’s a Pokémon in my house?
Do I need to worry about some crazed Pokémon catcher breaking into my house throwing virtual Poké balls around the place on the hunt for a triple world score?
My friend Allison told me not to worry because Pokémon were only in public spaces.
“But they’re in hospitals!” I screeched.
“Exactly,” Allison said. “Hospitals are public places.”
But what if Google had mismarked my house as a public space? Heck, there’s enough Pepsi in the place at any given time that Google could be forgiven for assuming my house is a 7/11 convenience store.
I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to know if there was a Pokémon in my house. I didn’t want someone who was crazy enough to walk off a cliff or approach Rikers trying to get into my house.
I needed to know what I was up against. So yesterday, after I’d weed whacked the lawn, I downloaded the Pokémon app onto my phone. I scanned the entire house thoroughly—my bedroom, the office, the living room, the kitchen. I checked the basement, the laundry room, and back yard. I checked the front street.
I sagged with relief.
But then I remembered the attic. Who knew how many Pokémon could be up there, prowling around?
My attic doesn’t have pull-down stairs, so I called my Dad.
“Dad, I need to borrow your ladder. I need to check the attic.”
“Another serial killer scan?” he asked.
Umm…I guess I should explain. Last time I asked my Dad to check the attic, it was after I’d read a novel about a serial killer who lived in a woman’s attic. When she was at work, he’d come down and eat her food and prowl about the house. One night while she was sleeping, he came down, crept into her bedroom and well…bad things happened.
“Not serial killers,” I told him. “Pokémon.”
“I’ll be right there,” he said. Because he really is the best Dad in the world.
Thirty minutes later I was up the attic, phone in hand, scanning the place like a CSI tech using Luminol to find latent blood stains.
Suddenly, a pink banner flashed across the top of my phone’s screen.
GPS Signal Not Found.
I’d gone out of range of my Wi-Fi connection.
I switched over to cellular, only to realize that I’d already used up all the data on my crappy plan for the billing period.
“Where are you Pokémon?” I shouted. “Show yourself, coward!”
So now I have to wait until August 15th when my data plan reloads to search the attic again. In the meantime, I’m keeping all the doors and windows locked.
And for extra security, I bought one of those “No Trespassing—Attack Dog Within” signs. But instead of hanging it on my door, I pinned it to the welcome mat on the ground. I figure the Pokémon catchers are more likely to see it there when they’re looking down at their phones.