Under my skin

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Nails on a chalkboard. Crunching. Slurping. Belching. Singing out of tune. Scraping against ice in the freezer, or a chair scraping across the floor. Cutlery screeching across crockery. Throat clearing. Nails being filed. Chewing gum. Teeth being drilled at the dentist.

What noises make your skin crawl?

As is often evidenced by my ranting on Twitter, for me, it is noisy eating. Though the guy sitting in front of me on the bus last week hocking back logies (snorting back his boogers) was definitely a close second.

Somehow, I always seem to end up surrounded by these people. Perhaps it’s just because it drives me so crazy, that I notice it more – like only really noticing that the supermarket has a baby aisle once you’re having a baby (or a friend has a baby), or seeing a certain car brand or type everywhere you go only once you are in the market for that car?

Noisy, crunchy food is one thing, but it surprises me just how common people chewing with their mouth open seems to be. People who are often around my age – certainly old enough to know better. Has a family member or very close friend never told them that it’s extremely poor manners to chew with their mouth open and/or speak with their mouth full? Don’t even get me started on those who look and sound like a cow chewing the cud when they’re chomping down on gum…

On public transport, it is easy enough to move carriages when somebody is chewing in my ear, or I try to ignore it if I know my stop isn’t far away, but there always seems to be at least one in my workplace (no matter where I work) – and as much as the sounds are enough to drive me right out of the room, I really can’t just get up and move away. Especially when they eat all. day. long. Currently, I have two people in the general vicinity of my desk who like to munch on noisy food (what are they eating – gravel?), rustle in paper bags before chewing loudly (one with his mouth open), noisily slurp soup/hot drinks/from straws when they reach the bottom, make out with their strawberries, proclaim “aaaaaahhhh” after each sip of their tea, and the best bit – belch loudly after they’ve finished eating.

I am in Hell.

It would be okay if I could time my lunch break to be out of the office while they eat, but these two snack right throughout the day. I can’t very well ask my boss if I can move desks – “Why do you want to move?” “Oh because I am going to scratch my eyeballs out if I have to listen to the people around me masticating in surround sound every single day for one minute longer.” I have taken to wearing headphones, but I have to say, the level that I need the music to drown out the munching and slurping is going to seriously impair my hearing.

It’s really only a matter of time before I’m reduced to a rocking, crying mess underneath my desk, or I completely lose my sh’t with them and tell them to chew with their f’cking mouth closed.

I can’t really see my workplace implementing a No Eating at Your Desk Policy any time soon, and while I like the thought of anonymous passive aggressive notes in theory, they’re really not my style (instead I just publish ranty posts on my blog…), so perhaps it is time to invest in ear plugs. I just have to work out how to explain them to my boss.