There's a Pidgey on my Stickshift. Now What?

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Pidgey on the Road

I use my smartphone when I'm driving. Sometimes I use it for GPS. Sometimes I use it to dictate a text. Sometimes I even use it to have a telephonic conversation. (I know, how very old school of me.)

Yesterday, I used a different form of GPS: the latest craze to sweep the world, POKEMON GO. I initially wanted just to see how many Pokestops I would drive by (Pokestops are places on the map where you can recharge your Pokeballs, so you can capture more Pokemon) and where all the gyms were. Plus, I just wanted to see the little guy on the map run at 65 miles per hour.

I passed a few Pokestops. They were also mile marker signs -- not places I would expect walking crews to pass while their on their quests to "catch 'em all." I didn't find many gyms near the Interstate, however, so that was a promising sign.

And then the phone buzzed. I didn't have an incoming call. I didn't have a text alert.

And then I saw it. Looking at the screen of my phone, which now accessed my camera, there sat a Pidgey, perched daringly on the knob of my stickshift. Mocking me. "Ooh, you're driving your car, you can't catch me."

Now, 98% of me said, "It's a freakin' Pidgey. Let it go." But the other 2% of me flicked my thumb at the screen and sent the Pokeball flying -- way to the right of the little Pidgey's head.

I swear to God he laughed.

I looked up. Looked down. Flicked again. Missed.

Pidgey hopped up and down in a giddy little dance of taunting.

I flicked once more and caught him.

Life and limb risked for a Pidgey.

In a splinter of karma, my camera then froze and wouldn't go back to the game to register the capture. That's okay, I found a Pidgey on my kitchen counter later that same evening. I probably brought him into the house.

Now, obviously using your smartphone for such interactive tasks while driving is an enormously stupid thing to do. That's why people do it -- we're enormously stupid. No matter how intelligent you are, there are guaranteed at least five minutes out of every day where you're the idiot in the room. Which means if people can play POKEMON GO while driving, then they will play POKEMON GO while driving.

Unless, of course, Nintendo did something like disable the app if you're going over 30 miles per hour. Or even 20 miles per hour (to prevent all those impending bicycle accidents). Yes, they do warn us every time they load the app that we should be attentive, but really, how often are we going to walk down a pier and get swallowed by a sea monster? I'm in the Midwest, for crying out loud, that warning clearly doesn't apply to me.

It seems like a pretty simple update to the app. And there are already reports of people having accidents while driving and Pokemon hunting (by drivers who were clearly less lucky skilled than I am. Certainly it won't be long before there's a hew and cry that Nintendo babysit us all by disabling the app -- because, as I said before, we're enormously stupid. Perhaps it might be a good idea on Nintendo's part to get to work on that modification.

And yeah, that means your kid, riding innocently in the back seat, may not get that Pinser as you zip past the Stuckeys this summer vacation. But that's the price we have to pay to be protected from our self-destructive instincts.

Now, if you'll pardon me, there's a Bulbosaur on my dashboard. I think I can take that curve using my knees.