The river looked like the Roaring Rapids ride, and my neighbor’s house had become lakefront overnight. Streets were closed, wires were down and roads were flooded. The radio news announcer said, “Power outages have affected 30,000 customers in this deadly storm.”
“Turn around,” I told my husband. “We’re going home.”
“Was it the ‘deadly’ that got to you?” he asked. And then it started to hail.
We wound up at the diner instead. The four of us, staying warm and dry on Sunday morning instead of braving a trip into Manhattan for a Nintendo Pokémon event at the Toys R Us in Times Square. I’d been invited by Nintendo to bring the family along, one of many such invitations this mom blogger gets. But this event looked particularly fun for my 11-year-old who, thanks to the Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilvergames for the DS that Nintendo had sent us last week, was once again hooked on Pokémon.
My soon-to-be-teen, on the other hand, was just coming along for a street-cart pretzel.
I had thought we were done with Pokémon. Chris hadn’t even looked at his Pokémon cards since last summer when he and his buddy Hunter would have conversations* like this one en route to soccer practice:
Hunter: “I like Charizard.”
Chris: “Yeah, me too, but Bulbasaur has more transformation points.”
Hunter: “Have you evolved into a Charmander yet?”
Chris: “Yes, and that’s 120 HP! How about that Squirtle!”
*(Pokemon purists take note: I made up the conversation, because I never understand what they’re talking about. But at least I consulted a Pokemon web site to get the characters’ names right.)
Lately, though, their conversations have been about what they’ve seen on Fox Soccer Channel — a language and a world I understand completely. But now we’re back on the Pokémon, thanks to these new games. And in a way, it feels like the last grasp at childhood before they head to middle school next fall where, presumably, you’ll get pantsed if you admit to playing Pokémon. So, I encourage it, even if I wouldn’t brave the Storm of the Century for it.
I’m not even going to pretend that I understand what happens in the games, but there is one addition that Chris loves: the Pokéwalker, which, says the promotional material, is “a small device that lets players bring their favorite Pokémon with them wherever they go. Players can transfer a Pokémon to the Pokéwalker and then simply walk around in real life. By walking, players earn Watts that can be used to encounter and catch wild Pokémon or search for hidden items.”
Clever. Encouraging exercise from a video game, even when you’re not playing it. So when we got home Sunday, Chris put his Pokéwalker in his pocket and ran around the backyard with his soccer ball, occasionally stopping at my office window to announce: “250 Watts! I’m going for a thousand!” Which he did — indoors, when the rain came down too hard outside. He ran around in circles in the kitchen, over my head. He got a thousand, and that was before lunch. I got a small pain over my left eye.
But he was happy, and so, apparently, were his Pokémon. I heard him playing the game later that afternoon and he let out a “Yes!” He usually only does that when Manchester United scores on Chelsea these days.
So we didn’t get our photo taken with Pikachu in the rain on Sunday. That’s okay. Instead, we got one last grab at childhood, courtesy of a little red and black gadget and an afternoon with nowhere to go. Yes!
NOTE: Nintendo supplied the games, the Pokéwalker and the DS mentioned in this blog. But I write only about what matters to us and to you, our readers. Plus, I so wanted to quote my husband and the “deadly got to you” part.