By Sunday night, I’m a Level 12, with 40 of the 138 Pokémon logged into my pokédeck. But I still have not landed a win at a gym. At the office and out of pokéballs once again, I’m compelled to get in my car and drive slowly up Elm Street, pausing slightly at each pokéstop to reap its bounty. (Note: Never do this).

I’ve suffered through two crashes at this point — the Great Saturday Afternoon Pokémon Crash, which took out servers for the bulk of the day, and for which a hacker group named PoodleCorp took credit, and another drop that lasted a few hours this very afternoon, which happened when Canada came online.picachu-inside

Plus, my sons have been gaining on me — they’ve both cleared Level 5 and are starting to master their moves in the gyms. And I know if I don’t learn to fight soon, I will be a laughingstock in my own home.

I’m loaded for bear, so I swing past the Green Hill Cemetery off Smith Street, where an amazing trove of pokéspots hooks me up and move north back to Geeksboro, where someone’s set off a lure module. I get a coffee and pick off a few creatures, including a polliwog, which is like a beaver or something with a weird spiral on its breast.

And then I gird myself and head for the Acme Comics gym, by now in control of the yellow team — Team Instinct, I now understand — with a low-level raticate defending it. The game puts together six of my best Pokémon, and when the fight begins the first two, a pinsir and a fully evolved pidgeot, barely make a dent. It is my third fighter, the vaporeon, that racks my first victory by, I think, shooting water out of its head — it’s hard to tell, it all happens so fast.

The whole thing takes less than a minute, but it’s enough to give me my first battle victory, even if I don’t quite understand how I did it, and the experience points push me over the threshold to Level 13, respectable by any standards.

I put the phone down then, because I need to get home to lord it over my kids.

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