EDITORIAL | Catching 'em all

Right now, it feels like you can’t escape it.

No matter where you go, or what you watch, it’s there.

Indeed for the past few weeks, seemingly everyone has their smartphone out on the street, trying to catch the elusive pocket monsters in PokemonGO.

But surprisingly enough, some people have taken a rather chilly response to the game, writing it off as a waste of time when there are so many other things to worry about in our world today. Even more so, they hear the stories of people walking into traffic, or trying to catch Pokemon in the most inappropriate of settings (including the U.S. Holocaust Museum, for one).

The criticism alone is a rather simplistic way to look at it though.

Simply put, it’s been years since we’ve seen a cultural phenomenon both as widespread and as involved as this.

Not only are you catching creatures, to do so you have to — gasp — go outside, and — double gasp — interact with your fellow human beings who are doing the same thing you are.

With a seemingly constant deluge of headlines from the national media stressing that we are at least, “a nation divided,” if not an entire fractured world, pop culture takes on an elevated level of importance.

It only truly takes one thing in common to lay the foundation for a better level of understanding across racial, class, or religious differences.

For some, that means the same adoration of a favorite singer or band, for others it’s a sports team or an athlete.

The key here is that people who otherwise would never cross paths then have a shared experience. If you can find at least one thing in common, the second, third, and fourth things come easier.

As we continue to grapple with the senseless violence that has occurred around the world in recent months, now is the time to embrace anything that helps span the divides that we face.

For whatever backlash the game has gotten, we’ve heard stories about people from all walks of life teaming up to play a game that has, at a minimum, become a nationwide phenomenon. All it takes is a phone, and some walking.

Over time, this, as every other fad before it, will eventually lose its luster. But the hope its that those playing the game take away something more valuable than the Pokemon they catch.

It opens up a whole new world when you get out of your house, or even your routine, to step out of your comfort zone.

Maybe PokemonGO isn’t the fad you seek, and that’s fine. But everyone has at least one hobby or interest that can get them meeting new people face-to-face, and broadening their understanding of the world with those they share at least one thing in common with.

And often enough, that one thing is all it takes to build something more.

And hey, if Pokemon is up your alley, we hear there are PokeStops along the Northeast Queen Anne Greenbelt.