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Nina In New York: Random Acts Of Rudeness

FILE - People try to hold onto their umbrellas during a storm (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FILE – People try to hold onto their umbrellas during a storm (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

In this very special episode of “Random Acts of Mystifying Rudeness,” I bring you two stories of unapologetic anti-social behavior.

The first took place on that very rainy Friday of last week. A friend and I were making our way back from lunch to our respective offices, single-sized umbrellas above each of our heads. All of a sudden, a man appeared out of nowhere facing us, let out an enormously aggravated growl and opened up a gigantic golf umbrella. He glared at us, as though our mere existence on the same plane of reality with him was completely unacceptable. Then he pointed the umbrella forward, weapon-style and plunged himself between us, sending us both reeling to either side of him. We squawked and yelled, but he clearly felt justified in his tactics. I mean, it was raining, and we were people on the sidewalk. The very nerve.

Later that same day, I was on the subway headed home. I watched as a slightly hefty guy wedged himself into a seat between two people. He turned to the man on the end of the bench, a stringy guy dressed all in black with wire-framed glasses and the sort of overgrown, limp hair befitting a fellow who wishes to affect the look of aging rock star.

“Sorry,” the larger man mumbled, ostensibly apologizing for any jostling which may have occurred.

The aging faux rock star turned to him with a friendly smile. “You should really lose some weight!” he said, brightly.

The other man made a face much milder than the one I was likely making at that moment. The rock star pressed on.

“I did it. Good for your heart!” he offered. As pleasant and casual as though he was offering a movie recommendation to a friend.

The other guy shook his head slightly and acted like he didn’t hear or understand. Perhaps he didn’t, because I’m not sure any person is really capable of such restraint. I was gawping rather visibly and the rock star briefly set his gaze on me and smiled benignly. I pretended to be studying something above his head and sucked in my gut and stood up straighter, lest I become his next target of unsolicited helpfulness.

You’ve got to love this town.

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.