A phone on the sidewalk

Most afternoons - I notice this whenever I have lunch at the malls near my office - I see this man standing at the sidewalk, discreetly flashing a watch he's holding in his hands, quietly peddling it to those walking past him.

Well, of course, he's selling that watch, I thought. And that has to be fake.

I don't remember if it's the same guy every time, or a different guy. I don't really notice, because I don't really like staring at people who are just standing on the sidewalk. (People walking on the sidewalk are a completely different matter, partly because the window of opportunity is so quick you can't help but take a peek.) That, and I tend to look down, slightly down, when I walk, so what I see is the watch he's peddling. It looks like a luxury watch. I don't know. I can't stop and inspect it. All I know is it's shiny.

Still, that has to be fake.

Yesterday, on my way home, I saw another guy, standing at a different spot on the same pavements I walk on. Well, I'm pretty sure it's another guy, because, again, I don't really pay attention. What I noticed, though, is that he's holding something different. It's not a watch. It's a phone.

Specifically, a Samsung phone. A Galaxy S3? I assume. My dad used to have one. My sister has one. I only saw it for a blip, but the curve's pretty familiar. White protective cover, screen off. Nothing else. No charger, no earphone, no other accessory, nada.

Well, of course, he's selling that phone, I thought. And that has to be stolen.

But then I realized that I immediately recognized that phone. I'm long past my gadget geek stage - I bought the local version of T3, back when it was still being published, and I remember my mother asking, "ano bang binebenta nila diyan, cellphone o babae?" - but I knew what it was. Or at least I think I know what it is. Granted, I am familiar with it. But still. Has it gotten to this? I know a phone more than a watch? What happened? Am I just not inclined towards the so-called good stuff? Is this a backlash to the unprecedented accumulation of wealth by a smaller and smaller pool of people? Is this an inevitable reaction? Is our idea of luxury changing simply because standards are shifting every second?

Why am I thinking all of this? It's just a stolen phone!

I was robbed of my phone thrice. Twice, in college, both times on the bus. I don't want it to happen again, of course, especially when I realize that I carry so much money on me on particular days. My phone's how much? My MP3 player? My laptop? The contents of said laptop? The watch I wear? The glasses I wear? Is this a backlash to the unprecedented accumulation of wealth by a smaller and smaller pool of people?

Eh, let's stop thinking about it. You might attract robbers. You know, that so-called force of attraction or something?

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