I HAD always been piqued with people who keep on pressing or reading text messages in their cellphones while walking, crossing the street, riding in vehicles or even going up or down the stairs.
I couldn't count the times when I've secretly wished for someone who is texting while walking to fall down and learn his or her lesson but my prayers haven't been answered, until later, when I acquired a cellphone. Little did I know that my wicked prayer would be answered -- on me.
From the very first day I paid for and brought home my first 3315 cellphone a year ago, it became a vital part of me. I sleep with it under my pillow and turn the vibrating alert on so that I will not miss any messages during the night.
I went to eat with the cellphone beside my plate, and practically peer into it every few seconds.
Completely forgetting my indignation for cellphone addicts before, I was not concious that I had already become a member of the texting-while-walking club. I became one of the millions of Filipinos whose lives revolve around these modern-day gadgets that contributed millions to the telecommunication giants.
My cellphone is the last thing I touch upon falling asleep, and the first thing I touch upon waking up.
Sometimes I even touch and tinker with it during my sleep because I was surprised one morning to discover I've consumed my load the night before to a call I never intended to place.
Walking along the Ecoland terminal one night last year, my buddy Sol and I headed towards our favorite carenderia to eat supper at the far end of the terminal. On the way, my cellphone vibrated, telling me that I received a message.
Out of habit, I immediately fished it out of my shoulder bag and read the joke a friend just sent. I didn't waste a minute but immediately scrolled my outbox for a joke to send to my friend in return.
With my full attention on my cellphone, I continued walking, passing through a pile of softdrink cases infront of a small eatery when I felt myself stumble. Grasping for balance, my eyes popped out when I saw a big pressure-cooker full of 'nilagang baka' tumble to the ground after I accidentally hit the handle with my foot.
I stood rooted to the spot as sliced pieces of beef and hot beef soup flooded on the terminal floor. Same as me, a shocked waitress stood rooted a few meters away from me. She regained composure first but before she was able to shout or berate me, Sol got hold of himself first and immediately confronted the waitress and berated her for cooking at a very unlikely place like a terminal floor.
Several customers at the restaurant agreed with us and supported Sol's argument.
I was still in shock, afraid that I will be forced to pay the whole amount of the full kettle as Sol pulled me away. Looking back, I saw was the waitress and a very flustered proprietor scooping slices of beef from the terminal floor and putting it back on the kettle while raining invectives at me.
Woe unto the next customers because for sure, they would not waste good meat. They would just replace the water and cook the beef again.
As soon as we were out of sight, Sol burst out laughing, holding his sides so hard I thought he was going to burst at his sides. Had he known that I didn't see the handle of the pressure cooker because I had been texting, he wouldn't have laughed so hard.
Think I've learned my lesson? you're wrong. Just the other month, I tripped over a display of tomatoes because I was texting while walking in a very busy street in Bankerohan. Unfortunately, Sol was not with me and I was not quick enough to get angry first. I was made to pay P6 for the tomatoes I stepped on.