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Nina In New York: Too Much TV Will Turn Your Brain Into Mush (And Get You Shoved Down the Stairs)

(credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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By Nina Pajak

Okay. I hate sounding like the hypocritical Luddite, but I think things have gone too far.

The other morning, as I was descending the stairs to the subway platform, I got stuck behind a slowpoke and missed my train by a few seconds. A mere shaving of time, yes, but one that can feel like an eternity when you see your destiny taking shape in the form of some joker who has no idea how badly she just altered the course of your day.

Now, this happens. I know. And sometimes the offending party is elderly or infirm, in which case I count to ten, take a few deep breaths, and get over it. But this occasion was an entirely different story.

I couldn’t see the reason why she was walking so slowly until we’d reached the (now trainless) platform. She paused at the foot of the stairs, thereby creating a bottleneck of people, and when I finally blew past her with as much visible irritation as I could muster, I understood what had transpired. And it enraged me.

She was watching TV. On her phone.

AASL!%@#J TQ8347SKLFG@T%&*$GHA;SDKFJ}#?!?!?!?!

I wanted to go back in time and body check her out of my way, or just shove her down the stairs. Just a few! Not to really hurt her or anything. You know, being cruel to be kind. Because this lady clearly needs help.

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I’m not one of those people who is too evolved and too engaged in creative pursuits and too entranced with all the wonderful things this world has to offer to watch or even own a television. I like TV. It is a comforting escape when your day leaves you exhausted and brain-fried. It can be funny. It makes nice noise when you’re home alone and afraid of ghosts and rapists. It plays entertaining shows which put terrible ideas in your head, like that ghosts and rapists are going to come hurt you when you’re home alone. In rare cases, it is good enough to be considered a valid contribution to American culture and works of cinematographic art. Also, sports or whatever. But the thing about television is that it is an acceptable form of entertainment in a limited number of venues: home, gym, on various modes of long-distance travel.

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There’s something that strikes me as sort of pathetically addicted and somewhat degenerate in taking it with you for the walk from your apartment, down to the subway, and onto a crowded train car. Seriously, lady? You can’t spend twenty minutes without an episode of Modern Family? I consider this a cry for help.

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Let’s not even get started on the people who watch videos on their phones and iPads at full volume on the subway. I know someone who actually got so irritated by a guy whose phone was playing so loudly, that he deliberately aimed a sneeze in his direction and didn’t cover his mouth. That’s sort of one step below germ warfare. Hey, I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying it happens. Or at least, it happened once that I know of. Beware.

Has something like this ever happened to you? How do you deal with slow walkers in New York City?