Oh, Sheila

I was out walking on my lunch hour yesterday, phone in hand, which I was checking periodically. There is nothing unusual about this; I often look at my phone while walking, either to track my workout progress on MyFitnessPal or queue up my camera for potential photo opportunities. There were lots of people out and about, and many seemed to be smirking at me as I passed.

“Petruska,” I chided myself, “You are being paranoid.”

But the weird looks continued. And then it dawned on me why: they obviously thought I was swept up in the latest mega-craze, trying to catch Pokémon on my phone. I mean, that’s how it is these days. I can’t even go for a walk around the block without running into roaming packs of teenagers glued to their phones in pursuit of these virtual reality creatures.

Once I realized this, I got immediately defensive. I started overcompensating by laughing out loud and making random comments directed at my phone. Ha-ha, I chuckled. “Oh, Sheila!” The weird part is, I do not know anybody named Sheila (unless you count Prince’s former protege from the late 80s, Sheila E. And I can’t say I know her per se, but I have heard “The Glamorous Life” on the radio approximately three million times. That must count for something.) “Oh, Sheila” was simply the first thing that came to mind. Guess I had that old Ready for the World song lodged in my brain.

It didn’t help anyway. Now, instead of a guy chasing after Pokémon, I was a guy laughing to himself and talking out loud. I shoved my phone in my pocket and clammed up for the rest of my walk, but by that point the damage was done, the ridicule self-inflicted.

Gotta catch 'em all!
Gotta catch ’em all!

As far as crazes go, this Pokémon one came out of left field. About a week ago Audrey asked if I’d heard about it.

“Pokémon?” I asked in disbelief. “Wasn’t that popular about 15 years ago?”

It was, because Rusty used to collect and trade the cards. Seems quaint now in this mobile age. I think he had a Nintendo 64 game, too. I simply did not believe my daughter when she said that Pokémon was popular again. Now that I can’t walk around the block without running into packs of teenagers glued to their phones talking about Pikachu, I have to concede that she was right, after all.

I never would have imagined this happening.

And, okay. Confession time. I wasn’t just looking at MyFitnessPal. I was also – ahem – playing around with Snapchat.

Never would have imagined that happening, either.

But I work with a bunch of Millennials. Deb, in particular, was touting the virtues of Snapchat to me and Kimberly (who is a fellow Gen X-er). She convinced us to download the app and see if we liked it. In typical fashion I resisted for weeks.

And then got hooked.

badgalrihanna.w190.h190.2xWell, kinda. But not really. I think Snapchat is a fun diversion, but impossible to take seriously. The impermanence of it bothers me. I have a hard time getting over the fact that everything you send (or post) disappears in 24 hours. I know you have the option to download Snaps to your gallery now, but that’s an extra step and really, what’s the point? So I’ve been playing around with it, usually via videos and goofy-as-hell daily stories that chronicle my day, but I feel the novelty is already wearing off. Maybe that’s because few people my age use it? Other than my SIL Esther, who has fully embraced it. Tara joined too, but she’s even less enthused than I am. It’s tough to justify creating Snaps when you have at best two or three people viewing them before they self-destruct forever. I suppose if I had more friends using it things would be different, but we old folks just aren’t that into it.

Instagram is more my speed – I’m on there every day. (adios.ghost, if you’re so inclined to stalk me look me up). I don’t even post that much to Facebook anymore. It just seems to have lost its appeal over the past year. I like to follow my friends there, and enjoy looking back at my memories, but actual updates are rare. I can’t even really pinpoint why…I guess maybe it’s just mostly run its course for me? I seem to be experiencing a lot of “what’s the point?” feelings lately. I like the simplicity of Instagram. I’m a visual guy. I dig pretty pictures.

Especially ones that don’t disappear in 24 hours.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

10 thoughts on “Oh, Sheila

  1. I am totally with you on this. I have no interest in Snapchat because no one my age would do it. I can barely find peeps my age on Twitter (except actors, who are just there to self-promote). Facebook is dead, unless you’re into annoying people with politics or constant selfies. But Instagram goes beyond age. It’s easy and fun to see pics from all over. I’m a visual person, too.

    My nephews were all talking about Pokemon on July 4th and I asked them why. I wish they had clued me in more, instead of just saying, “It’s popular again.”


    1. I tried to get into Twitter years ago, but that one confounds me just as much as Snapchat. I’ll periodically dust off my account and try it out again, but that never seems to last for more than a few days at a time before I lose interest again. I’ve actually been on Snapchat now for two weeks…about twice as long as I thought I’d be there.


  2. My two cents are… I think Pokemon Go is highly dangerous, yet remarkably good for society because it unites people in the way that other game crazes like Candy Crush could never aspire to. Have you heard of the impromptu Pokemon parties out in the streets? People are making friends in REAL LIFE because of this game! The nerds are exiting their computer rooms and the internet world is surging with new life! Anyway, this was a highly interesting post to read. I went to follow you on instagram but surprisingly I am already following you – what?!


    1. Ha. Yes, the nerds are at least getting some fresh air and exercise now. That’s the good part about the game.

      You’re already following me on Instagram? Whoa…what’s your user name? And how did this happen? Maybe I mentioned my name before…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my co-workers, a father of an 11-year-old told me that some kids knocked on his door earlier this week asking if they could go to his backyard as a Pikachu was supposedly there. He thanked them, closed the door, and his son is now the proud owner of a Pikachu.

    I’ve been thinking about joining Instagram recently. Looking over my facebook posts, almost all are photos anyway and that’s primarily what I am checking out on other people’s posts. I can only take so many “I can’t even.” comment-bait facebook status updates. It is okay. You can elaborate. Or better yet, show us a picture.


    1. Instagram is such a stress-free platform. I am content looking at photos all day, and find I don’t need a lengthy status update to go along with them. Plus, there are some pretty amazing feeds out there. Look me up if you do decide to join!


  4. Mark, I heard about Pokemon from a few of my co-workers, which surprised me because like you, I remember it being popular years and year ago. I could hardly believe it was popular again?!

    Facebook I was never in to. I had an account for less than a year, but deleted it because I found blogging more “quality socializing.” I also found it to be more creative.

    Instagram I never thought I would enjoy yet, after I joined last year I found it to be a great way to share photography with other photographers (such as you and Tara). I also enjoy it because it doesn’t take that much time and like you, I enjoy the simplicity.

    SnapChat, I just don’t see the point, so I’ve never looked into it.

    Have a faaaaaabulous weekend, buddy! And looking forward to seeing more of your photographs on Instagram!


    1. What’s next? Are Cabbage Patch Dolls poised to become the newest fad??

      I enjoy your Instagram pics very much, as well. I like the contrast between your shots of urban architecture and my nature pics. I’ve always said you’re a great photographer anyway. Hope you’ve had an excellent weekend!


  5. Okay my friend I have something to share, you NEED to get into Pokemon hunting! Honestly, I know how silly it seems but it is really fun. My entire family is into it. My dad is the one leading the pack currently and we are all scheming and planning ways to overtake him! We will one day, we will!


    1. Hey, you’ll find no judgment here. I think it’s great that your family has something to bond over! Your dad sounds pretty hip. Hope you figure out a way to catch up with him!


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