Pumptop TV

 I was filling up the tank, self-serve, $3.35 a gallon. (A “good” price at that moment.)

I barely noticed 10 inch screen at the top of the pump. Out of the corner of my eye, I registered a message about the lethal dangers of texting behind the wheel. Then there was an “Entertainment Tonight” -type teaser about a movie I don’t want to see,  Mario Lopez thanked me for watching, and a screensaver appeared with information about the station’s hours and services.

Eek. I had watched four minutes of PumpTV without even realizing it.

There are screens flickering in cabs and elevators, in airports and at supermarket checkout counters. Entertainment is not the point; sales and pacification are the name of the game.

If you’re watching a screen, maybe you’ll be less angry about the four-hour flight delay. If there‘s cheery music, soothing commentary, and pretty pictures, maybe you’ll give in and buy the chocolate bar from the rack by the register. (You want it — you know you do.)

Last time I was called for jury duty, I brought a book with me, hoping to turn the wait into an opportunity for uninterrupted reading. But there was a TV screen bolted to the wall in the holding pen and after the recorded civics lesson was over, I had no way to escape the laugh track, as we were being “treated” to an honest-to-goodness sit-com.

I’m sorry. This is getting to be an Andy Rooney rant, so I won’t speculate on the impact of flickering screens perpetually aimed at children sitting in the back ofthe minivan. I’ll stop now.

Have a nice day.


  1. Random O.C. Christian on December 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Does anyone just sit in the park and watch the birds anymore? Can we not live in reality unless we’re having drama like reality TV?

    Our town just suffered the death of a teen whose friend was texting while driving her somewhere. They crashed into a wall. The friend died.

    When I was being courted by my husband, I noticed that he could actually pay attention to me in a restaurant rather than following whatever game was being shown on a remote screen. This was rare indeed.

    We’ve had to resort to turning off all media after 8:30pm so we talk and share in our marriage. My Bitizens and gmail and blogs can wait. I’m looking forward to Lent so that we can extend this blackout.

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