I was biking up to the beach one hot and sweaty afternoon when a kid on a skateboard barrelled into me at the 10th Avenue red light. He was on his phone. I had off from work. We both fell over.
“Pokemon GO,” he shrugged, not even breaking for eye contact. “Sorry.”
He was tall and lanky, maybe a year or so out of college. His red hair poked out the sides of his raggedy RVCA trucker hat. I felt his ambivalence radiating from the raw contusions.
“No worries,” I laughed. “Be careful with that, man.”
He sulked behind the screen. “Yeah.”
“Did you get him?”
“No, it got away.”
He finally looked up and I smiled.
“Yeah,” he said. “Hey do you know where the gym is around here? I can’t find it.”
“No, sorry. I’d guess somewhere up by the beach? You should really try to be more aware of your surroundings, you know. Don’t let that game consume you. It’s not real.”
“Yeah, thanks.” He brushed himself off and went east across Main Street, face back buried in his phone.
I shook my head and continued up to the ocean. Part of me hoped I’d gotten through to him. A profound life-lesson, reminding him to alway be present. I envisioned myself a role model, a teacher of sorts. You know the ones. The mentor-type outlanders; the ones who only come along so often, offering wisdom and advice to the future generations of society with thorns in their sides. The kind of man whose stature poised confidence and virtue; he smokes cigars and reads books no one’s ever heard of on his porch. People come to listen to his stories with bellies full of curiosity. They learn. They laugh. They leave.
But what did I know? That ginger almost cost me a Pikachu wandering around by the median. And the gym wasn’t anywhere near Main Street. Psh, noobs.