1. I know, you’re eager to start playing the game. But choosing your avatar is a watershed moment: it represents who you are. Carefully mull over your avatar’s hair colour. A Pokémon trainer once said, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” So if you intend to be a cross dresser, have your avatar be the opposite of your current gender. And yes, the elephant in the room: both avatars, male and female, are slim. Being plus-sized, I too was a bit iffy about that. Not to worry: Niantic has intended for the avatars to be your future projections. After all that walking, you will be slim and fabulous.
2. That searing excruciating pain you feel on your skin? Don’t worry. It’s the sun. What is that? The sun is a star of the solar system, the equivalent of Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of Valinor. It is homo sapiens’ life-force, like a Transformer’s spark.
3. Another Pokémon trainer once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Don’t worry about venturing too far out to the next-block shopping mall that teems with unsavoury types. Just go knocking on your neighbours’ doors. Once they get over the initial shock that their very own Arthur “Boo” Radley has emerged and is right on their doorsteps, ask permission for ingress. Ostensibly ask for sugar or eggs — that should work. Of course, you’re banking on their innate but waning neighbourliness and kindness.
A Pokémon can appear anywhere: on the bedframe, atop a shampoo bottle, right smack on your grandmother’s naughty bits, really, anywhere. You will need some time to search every nook and cranny of your neighbour’s granny and house. When asking your neighbours for the ingredients, be specific — anal even. “I need exactly 152 grams of sugar, in exactly 200 grains.” Or “free-range, organic, pasteurised eggs laid by Rhode Island Red.” It’s possible they will think you are weird beyond words, but that will be the least derogatory thing they’ve said of you.
Once you have found that elusive Abra hiding amongst other deviant accessories in your neighbour’s night drawer, slink out of the house. It’s almost as if you were never there, and your neighbour will think you were a figment of her imagination — and hence not know you have just stolen what-was-rightfully-her Pokémon.
4. Playing Pokémon GO depletes batteries. Yours, not just your smartphone’s. For every five minutes of walking — or 10 steps — head home and recharge.
5. Much will have changed since the 20 years you last stepped out of your house. At the end of a pathway ramp meant for wheelchair-bound or trolley-pushing residents is a flight of stairs. All these unnecessary features will only add to your confusion. Invest in a pair of GPS shoes so that your relatives can track your whereabouts.
6. It is a new world indeed: multitudes of strangers whose eyes are fixed on their phones, pacing up and down and suddenly stopping in their tracks. They flick their index fingers in an upright motion and then launch a celebratory fist bump. Or a speeding Lamborghini that comes to a screeching halt, and then careens off again after you dart the driver a look. Don’t worry. They are not secret service agents sent to follow you. They are fellow trainers too. Sorry to burst the bubble but you are not the chosen one.