I have renewed sympathy for cardholders I speak with at work reporting the loss of their credit cards, for today I lost my Nokia N97 mini. Or it was stolen from me, I should say. Pulled out of my bag through a jagged tear made by some punk desperate for money.
It was about two in the morning on my second ride towards home, on a bus headed to Baclaran. I woke up with the vague sense that I had reached my destination, and I was right, except that the bus had changed directions and was already headed north. I got off the place where a year ago I used to wait for buses headed to Ayala. That struck me as odd. I always woke up right before reaching Baclaran, with a few other fellow passengers disembarking at the place. This morning I woke up on the bus alone, except for the bus driver who was yelling that we were already there, the conductor, and a dark-skinned man wearing a gray hooded jacket and with teeth that were spaced at least an inch apart (no kidding, I saw them earlier when he yawned for about five minutes while craning his neck and gazing around). I suspect it was the dark-skinned man who stole my phone; he already seemed very suspicious the first time I saw him. Or maybe it was just his looks that made him seem like a criminal... Or maybe he was not alone but in cahoots with the driver and conductor—how else would I have been left napping inside that well-lit bus, just three or four rows from the front, alone, and then only allowed to wake up after they had made a turn to start heading north?
The first hint I got that my phone was missing was when I got off the bus and finally made sense of which side of the road I was in. I noticed there was no music playing in my ears despite my earphones being on. I thought perhaps they had just been disconnected from my phone, but when that happens there's always loud music issuing from my phone's loudspeakers that immediately prompts me to reconnect the accessory to the gadget. There was no loud music coming from inside my bag. I fumbled through my bag's contents—twice, thrice, four times. Jessica Zafra's Twisted Travels, automatic folding umbrella, Starbucks tumbler, newly bought antiperspirant body spray, and small bag with toothbrush, toothpaste and other stuff I might need in case I suddenly have to sleep over somewhere.
When it finally hit me that my phone was gone, I muttered to myself, "They got it from my perfectly secure bag! Impressive!" Then I found the tear in my bag and my admiration for the thief's skills was immediately lost.
I thought my wallet had also been taken from me, but thank God it wasn't. My coin purse was, though, along with a tiny mirror I always carry in my bag for checking my braces after I had eaten. When I couldn't find my Tic Tacs, I almost made up my mind that it was truly the dude with the hood who was the culprit, and that his periodontal situation was bigger than just his having battlement-like teeth. I found the Tic Tacs later when I emptied my bag of all its contents. I still think he's the culprit.
I had a feeling something might be wrong with the bus I rode the minute I took the second three-seater from the back. There were no two-seaters left but even when a couple had emptied by the time we were driving along Ayala, I still transferred to a three-seater near the front (I was trying to avoid sitting behind or in front of my suspect who was on a two-seater right in the middle). I also found it weird when the bus actually lingered in place somewhere for about five minutes. I know jeepneys and mini-buses in the Cavite-Zapote route like to treat waiting sheds like terminals, but not big air-conditioned buses who have already set off for their destination.
I should have listened to my gut and continued reading Zafra's book after I transferred seats. I always only sleep when I'm on a two-seater, with my arms hugging my bag protectively and my fingers locked together. I wasn't really that sleepy that time but it was so cold I had to cross my arms over my chest, leaving my bag unprotected, and eventually I dozed off. The one time I deviate from my usual bus behavior turns out to be the first time in my 23 years of existence I get thieved from. Awesome.
I wonder how the thief, whose testicles will soon shrivel to nothingness, was able to take my phone without alerting everyone to his crime. 2NE1's "Ugly" or "Hate You" (how appropriate, both of them) would have boomed loudly from the speakers once he unplugged my earphones. I don't really care much for my phone, however, because we've already had a good run. But my bag... I haven't even used my bag for more than 3 weeks and now I can't use it at all, not because of a broken zipper or a ripped lining but because of an unsightly cut on the exterior that screams, "I didn't listen to my mom when she told me never to sleep on the early morning commute home!" Thank goodness, my mom didn't give me an "I told you so" sermon when she heard the news; she was so sympathetic to my plight because she knows I work hard to buy things for myself. My dad, on the other hand, who was first to hear the news from me, gave me something like an "I told you so" sermon, though it was summed up in a snicker. I'm used to him being like that.
It's funny how I've long been complaining about my phone (or Symbian OS) being chock full of bugs and my fairly new earphones being dysfunctional so soon (it's always the left one that dies first; is it just with me or is that simply how it is with all earphones?). It's also quite hilarious how just before we left the office earlier my co-worker Rich and I got to talking about how we two weren't as motivated to work as most others because we didn't have mouths to feed or siblings to get through college. Now my glitch-y phone has been stolen from me so I have absolutely no more use for my partially working earphones, and buying a new phone and really saving money to finally move to a place nearer the office or maybe buy a car are a new motivation to survive at work.
OK, so now which phone to buy?