Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How my cellphone got stolen again

I've been home in Manila for three months, and I've lost my phone twice.  The first time happened without much fanfare, while I was waiting for a bus in front of a mall.  I realized that it was gone, along with my wallet, when I was looking for some change to pay for my ride.  It was a good thing that my officemate was with me to sympathize with my situation and lend me some money.

Last night was a different story. I was going home from a night church service, so it was pretty late.  I got off the usual place I did going home and crossed the street, unaware of the time and how I was the only person within the vicinity.  I only wanted to get home and kiss my two dogs, and I had forgotten my sister's warning not to pass by that way if ever I was going home late.  Three minutes before I turned the corner to our village, I felt a strong tug on my shoulder bag. I thought I had gotten the strap caught up some place, not even thinking that that was an impossibility (there was only a vacant lot on my side), and that I was, like a morbid initiation into city life, having my bag snatched while I held on tightly to the shoulder strap.

He was only a wily boy, maybe around fifteen, not older than my second year high school students.   Thin and wearing a red shirt that was a bit too big for him, he was surprisingly strong.  He was dragging me into the wide open streets, while I, in my shock, was trying to pull my bag free from his grasp.  I vaguely remember shouting expletives to this rogue of a boy, more angry than afraid that someone was taking something that rightfully belonged to me!

I was fighting a losing battle though.  I was doing things by instinct; he had deliberately surveyed the situation beforehand.  There were no people around, it was dark, and the open avenue was a friend to the agile likes of him. I guess he was also already banking on the fact that I would be too scared to follow him and would not risk getting hit by one of the few whizzing cars.  He also had two hands on the bag itself; I only had one hand on the long strap.    Because I was still holding on tightly to the strap and shouting for dear life, he gave two sharp tugs and I fell on the pavement, scarring my knee. He easily crisscrossed through the light traffic, like Aladdin in the making. My urge was to run after him, but I regained my wits, realizing that he had ran through what was locally known as a killer highway.  In frustration, I just let him go and went straight to a police station, which was ironically just a three-minute walk away from the incident.  What do you know, I had to wait for the policemen to notice that someone had just come in their office (both of them were at the store next door).  If I had the makings of that boy who stole my bag, I could easily have stolen their logbooks and electric fan without their knowledge.  Though I knew that they would probably never catch the rascal, I wanted them to be warned that this had happened almost right under their very noses, and maybe they could do their job a little bit better to keep commuters safe like they're supposed to do.

Admittedly, it was partly my fault for not heeding my sister's warning not to pass by that route.  But I honestly don't expect to get robbed everytime I walk the streets of Manila.  In the province where I used to live, I accidentally left my wallet that had three thousand pesos inside it, and it was given back to me. Here, the person who gives you back your misplaced things is called a hero.

When I got home, I gladly cried to my mom, feeling like a ten year old who had just scraped her knee.  I was grateful that I had a family to go home to, not an empty dorm room like before.  My sister came home and dressed the scar on my knee, while my two doggies looked on in sympathy.

I lost my phone...again. But good thing, it was a temporary phone bought for me by my sister and was only worth 500 pesos.  I also lost my wallet, my keys, my ATM card and my IDs.  I went home to my family with only my company ID, a tupperware, my life, and the only thing that fell out of my bag during the struggle, a small book of bible reflections.  I still want all of my things back, simply because they're mine.  I think that you would agree though, that what I do have is all that I really need.

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