Grandma playing Ingress stopped by cops
And I did. Five portals altogether. Then I started to work my way back home, pausing wherever I could do a drive-by hack, upgrade someone else’s resonators, etc. When I stopped at one of the last enemy portals, I noticed its resos were down about 50%. It was still heavily defended and a higher level, but I couldn’t resist. I decided to try to take it down. It had been blue forever (4 or 5 days at least) and I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
My inventory was overflowing. I had what I needed. But it was going to take a lot of time to knock it down at the rate of just a few percentage points per attack. I sat there with the car idling and the a/c on and whacked away at it. I moved around several times to get closer to the resonators — U-turns, up to the corner and back down on the other side of the street, always pulling well to the side so as not to obstruct traffic. Normally it’s a very quiet intersection, but today there were several city trucks nearby with work crews mowing or pushing rocks around or something. I must have been there at least half an hour. But hey, that’s one of my few advantages in Ingress. I have all the time in the world.
And finally I got it. I beat it down and turned it green. Sweet. Well, stupid, actually. I burned through a ton of inventory. It will take a lot of farming to restock. But again, I’ve got time …
I swung by Taco Bell for some celebratory tacos and headed for home feeling quite pleased with myself. But as I neared the last corner into my neighborhood, I noticed a police car behind me, lights flashing. D’oh!
I turned onto my street and pulled over immediately; he pulled in behind me. Had to be something like a burned out taillight. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“We got a report of suspicious activity … license number 123-ABC … intersection Baker Drive … ”
That was the intersection where I’d been. Of course I had looked suspicious! I’d have reported me if I’d seen me hanging around like that. I hadn’t gotten in anyone’s way, hadn’t done anything at all illegal. But still, those city crews were there the whole time; they’d have wondered what I was doing.
Oh this is going to be interesting …
“Officer, I was playing this game … ”
And to his everlasting credit, he didn’t laugh. He remained polite, respectful, and as I kept talking, interested. He asked to see the app on my phone and I showed him, trying to explain briefly what the game involved. He’d not heard of Ingress and I explained that he and his colleagues might encounter other players in the area, and the sort of places where they might be seen, etc.
I hope the encounter will benefit all concerned. I’d not been playing long when I began reading about players encountering police and how to behave and not behave when approached. Considering a lot of players are out after dark, especially in the winter, and are likely to appear to be loitering, etc., it was all good advice. I did do a double take when I got to the part about what to do if you’re carrying a gun …. Gaming has gone too far when one feels the need to carry a gun in order to play.
Of course it never occurred to me when I started playing this game that I’d be one of the players stopped by the police. But it proved to be a pleasant, interesting conversation. No tickets, warnings, or anything like that. Just a friendly chat.
As the officer was walking back toward his car, I looked back and noticed for the first time that a second squad car had pulled up while we were talking. I said something about it and laughed that I should have taken a picture. He laughed and pointed out that no, actually there were two more squad cars back there! A total of three cop cars lined up behind Grandma, the first one with its lights still flashing!
I can’t imagine what the neighbors must have thought.
ALSO ON PIED TYPE:
- Ingress down and so am I
- An Enlightened Colorado
- Grandma plays Ingress
- Enlightened or not
- Ingress at the Stanley Hotel
Note, June 2, 2016: In March an article entitled “The game ‘Pokémon GO’ is based on has led to some weird problems for its players” appeared on Tech Insider. It mentions this post and refers to me as a “self-described ‘grandma,'” implying, it seems to me, that I might not have been truthful about being a grandmother (aka “old”).
Then in concluding the author says, “It’s worth noting that none of these reports have been independently verified, and so far no one seems to have been roughed up or arrested. But ‘Ingress’ is, frankly, a niche game for adventurous tech nerds, not a group known for being especially mistreated or misunderstood by American police.” I got the feeling he thinks I and others have made up our stories about encounters with police. What proof does he want for independent verification? Official police reports? Sworn testimony from eye witnesses? He displays his ignorance with his assumption that it’s a “niche game” played only by “adventurous tech nerds.” I’ve personally known of players from age 13 up to my age (73); some are “tech nerds” and some are not. (Sorry, I’ve no independent verification for that statement.)
Just thought I’d mention this for the benefit of those few who might follow a link to this post.