QUARANTINE TIMES: SOCIAL DISTANCING
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for most people, especially because of the social distancing. However, there is a very small group of people who are taking advantage of this extra time that they can spend in the tranquility of their homes. Jozy Butler, a college freshman from New York, happens to be one of them.
This pandemic has given Jozy more time to enjoy her hobbies, and has led to her developing a deep interest in gaming —specifically, playing “Pokemon Go.”
"Pokemon Go" is a cell phone game where players can catch 'virtual' mythical monsters that they track in the real world using their phone screens. Collecting these Pokemon characters in pocket-sized balls, the players then use the Pokemon to battle each other for rewards. Jozy also uses "Pokemon Go" as an incentive to exercise, since the game requires players to go outside to look for Pokemon. It is very easy for Jozy to find herself wandering outside for miles, trying to find her next catch.
“ I take the same two-mile walk, like everyday to catch Pokemon”, she tells me. “ There are more opportunities to catch things (other than the virus) near your homes, so I’m taking advantage of that.”
Jozy has become an avid "Pokemon Go" player, and so she is content with being in quarantine and going on her epic hunts.
“One day of Pokemon hunting was super strange," she shares. "I left the house really excitedly, thinking I would catch a few 'shinies'—special versions of the Pokemon that are especially difficult to find and trap—and I see the same two guys every time I go on a Pokemon run. One guy is always planting huge trees in his yard, and the other resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger and exercises vigorously, running up and down the hills with dumbbells in his hands.
"This was a normal Pokemon hunting day. At least it was normal until while I was trailing the Pokemon, I climbed all the way up this hill, and found this synagogue that looked like a mythical fortress. Hidden behind the trees, it caught me by surprise and left me speechless, like I had stumbled through a portal into a different world.”
It may seem as if Jozy was being extra dramatic, but being in Pokemon mode probably made her see things very differently. “I still go that way, she says, "but I’m less scared now, I know it’s a place of worship.” Nearly everyday, Jozy finds herself taking the same two-mile walk, in order to catch Pokemon. She sees the same people everyday, who all appear to have strange daily routines as well. “ She finds herself wondering if she looks strange to them, walking the same route everyday, phone in hand, and squealing with excitement whenever she catches a good Pokemon. “ I wonder if they know what Pokemon is, or if I told them, would they think I was crazy?” she muses.
Odd how Jozy seems to have developed a connection with these people on her walk without ever having exchanged a single word with either of them. Even social distancing can be social.
~~ Jozy Butler interviewed by Constantina Butler (Class of '23)
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