I was scrolling Timehop last Friday when I saw a photo of an egg salad and arugula sandwich which was my lunch three years ago. I remember how I was excited to eat it at the office, and then I remembered I wasn’t able to enjoy it as something terrible happened on the way to work.
I got mugged.
It was a sunny day, and I left home at around 12nn. I rode an FX and sat in the front row. A girl wearing red lipstick was between me and the driver. A guy wearing a white shirt and shades rode after me. A couple with a baby got off.
I was listening to my iPod. I think I was listening to Vampire Weekend. I heard a commotion. “Hold-up ‘to,” said the guy with the shades. He was pointing a gun. Funny thing was I thought it was some kind of prank. Maybe that’s how I cope with shock and disbelief. Anyway, a couple of seconds later, I realized that nope, there’s no punchline. It’s the real deal right here.
He was seated in the middle row so he pointed the gun on my head several times. I’m telling you, a barrel on your left temple is seriously scary. “Ibigay nyo na kung ayaw nyo masaktan,” he warned, pointing the gun on my head again.
I surrendered my beloved iPod – the first music player I bought with my own money, and not a gift or pasalubong I had to ask for my parents in exchange for being a good daughter (debatable lol). I remember the projects I worked on that allowed me to buy it. I remember the sleepless nights, the motivational speeches I give myself when I’m so exhausted. “Di bale, pag natapos ‘to, makakabili ka na ng iPod. Gift mo sa sarili mo.”
He was still waving his gun, commanding us to give our wallets. I was able to sneak my phone under my thighs. But I think he sensed that what I gave him wasn’t a phone so he told me to give me mine. “Kung ayaw mong masaktan.” The gun was on the back of my head again.
And so I surrendered my phone – a Nokia E72. It was the first phone I bought with my own money. I also remember allotting a portion of my salary for several months for it. Globe had terrible options for their retention plan so I decided to get myself one.
I remember going to the floor of our building where a store sold mobile devices for a lower price than in malls. A wad of bills was in my wallet. I left the store a full-fledged adult who didn’t have to ask her parents to buy her stuff. I felt powerful.
On that day that someone held a gun on my hand several times, barely a kilometer from home, still at our subdivision, on a bright sunny day, I was absolutely powerless. I bid goodbye to what was for me, symbols of power.
The mugger told the FX driver to stop. He hid his gun, and he got off laughing.
We told the FX driver to come back for the dude so we can see where he would go. But he continued driving. We went straight to the police station. I was still in shock that I couldn’t sit down, and I was shaking. The other passengers and I made a pact to return the next day so we can continue with the investigation. We were all commuters who had to be somewhere else at the time – offices, schools, etc.
When I arrived at the office, I was still shaking. I still can’t believe what happened, and that’s when I started crying. I couldn’t eat my baon – the sandwich I was so excited to make and to eat. In fact, I haven’t made that sandwich again.
The next day, as what we have agreed upon, I went back to the police station. My parents called friends who may be of help – a regional head of the PNP, the vice chair of the NAPOLCOM. Both told the officers of the precinct to check on our case. I waited for almost an hour for the other passengers to arrive. Nobody came. The FX driver and the girl beside me who saw the mugger’s face on the rear view mirror never came back.
We denied ourselves justice because nobody cooperated.
After the incident, I became extra cautious when taking public transport. This means on weekdays and on days when I don’t go out with the family, I am more paranoid than usual. I never take out my phone anymore except when riding a cab, so I’m sorry if I don’t take calls or reply to SMS. I bring a bottle of pepper spray and an old phone which I can surrender should anything happen again. I also feel uneasy when people wearing sunglasses ride the FX and never remove them. Net takeaway: people wearing shades are shady. Hehe.
But this incident also shed light on two things.
One, that I should invest my hard-earned money on moments and experiences – after all, hindi yan nananakaw. After the incident, I became bent on seeing my favorite artists to the point that if I had to haul my ass to another country, I would. I finally did several times with the purpose of seeing my favorite bands, Vampire Weekend included. I still will until my legs won’t allow me to stand on hours by the stage barricade. People can’t steal the moment you meet one of your favorite bands and you tell them that you flew from another country to see them and to worship them (this happened with Ra Ra Riot). Hahaha. *cue in Mariah’s Can’t Take That Away From Me*
Two, life is too short to waste it on stuff that doesn’t make you feel alive. This is perhaps one of the reasons why I have been more determined than ever to use whatever extra time I have to (get back to) draw(ing). Because I truly feel alive when I have a pencil or brush in my hand.
So after being reminded by Timehop of that terrible day, I thought of drawing something to commemorate that incident. I imagined the mugger the day after, reading the tabloids with his cup of coffee, listening to my iPod and figuring out if he’ll sell my phone. I imagined him taking a photo to capture this moment flat lay style as if he’s about to post it on Instagram after.
A flat lay featuring an illustration of a flat lay. Haha.
The headline is a status I actually wrote on Facebook which I tagged as a Facebook Milestone, I think. And if you’re wondering what holdapers do, then here’s the perfect song by Giniling Festival.
Yes, if you don’t speak Filipino, then let me translate it for you: muggers eat shit because they are shit. Haha.