If you know me, you know that I have a tiny pet peeve: loud chewing.
It all began in third grade when my teacher, Mrs. Anderson, told us that we weren’t allowed to chew our gum loudly during snack time. It was her pet peeve, and it suddenly opened me up to the world of loud chewing.
From that point on, it has plagued me. Classmates chewing during AP English. College classmates chewing chips during class. Coworkers chewing carrots. I. Can’t. Take. It.
My mom used to joke around that she was going to send me to therapy for this problem.
Anyway, I’ve usually been able to FLEE the loud chewers of America, but lately I’ve been totally and utterly trapped. TRAPPED.
You walk into the subway car. You sit down innocently. Wait… wait… WHAT is that noise!?!?!? Oh my gosh. It’s the guy RIGHT NEXT to me. He’s chewing his gum SO LOUDLY. My skin crawls. My blood boils. I keep looking over at him and hope he might get the signal, but it doesn’t work. It never does. I’m trapped next to this guy and his gum for the next 20 minutes. I can’t get up and move within the car because that’s awkward. I don’t want to get OFF the car because I might not make it in time. I’m forced to face it.
Tonight, as I was commuting home from work, I found myself crammed within strangers on the 4 train. To my horror, the guy I’m facing is totally, TOTALLY smacking on gum. I can see it sloshing around in his mouth. Does gum really require so much movement?? I try to handle it for a little while, but I can’t handle the visual plus the sound, so I turn around. OH MY GOSH. Another guy chewing his gum equally as obnoxiously. The thought actually crosses my mind that gum should be banned on the subway.
I know I have issues. I know that this is my own issue. What if the subway is immersion therapy?? Trap me underground and surround me with my pet peeves.
Mom, that therapy you’ve always mentioned… I think it’s happening.
… Or I could just buy a pair of head phones.