Picture this. You walk into a quiet conference room at your office for a lunchtime meeting, several more people shuffle in and fill in the seats around you. The lunch cart rolls in and everyone grabs some food – a sandwich, salad, bag of chips, soda, maybe even a pickle or two – and then people return to their seats and start to eat as the meeting begins. Sounds normal, right? Well if you’re like me, it sounds like a goddamn nightmare, so hold on tight because this is gonna SUCK.
The sound of people chewing is a cruel and unusual form of torture that slowly loosens my screws and makes me want to Hulk Smash one crunch, smack, slurp at a time. Apparently, this is a diagnosable condition called Misophonia, or a “hatred of sound.” Cool, so it’s not just me and also, I might be a creative genius? Noice.
Unfortunately, people have to eat and unless you plan on kickin’ it hermit style or surrounding yourself with people who only eat soft cheese and cake, you’ve gotta learn to deal with it. Because running away every time the person next to you opens a bag of chips or giving someone the death stare until they feel so awkward they get up and leave, while slightly gratifying, is not a good look. Trust me.
Here are some ways to make it through an arrival from the dreaded Chew Chew Train. You can do it, I believe in you.
1. Headphones are your friend. If you’re sitting on a bus or train or somewhere where it’s appropriate to pop your headphones on, DO IT. If you can’t hear the chewing, it has no power over you.
2. Pray, and repeat. Most of the time, you just have to take a deep breath and deal with it. Instead of focusing on the evil sounds permeating the room, pray for world peace, for the Spice Girls to announce a reunion tour, or for Donald Trump to slip on some Cheeto dust and fall off the side of a cruise ship, landing in a school of jellyfish who drag him to the bottom of the sea and then, in an unlikely turn of events, invite his toupee to enroll in their jellyfish school. Keep repeating said prayer until the eating has ended. It will always end.
3. Find your happy place. Mine’s probably making my baby niece laugh, when my dog rolls on his back and his face looks like Fire Marshall Bill, or hanging out at Rocky Pond in Hollis, NH. Figure out what yours is and think about that. Pretend you’re there, relax, really picture it, and then that hate fire burning in your heart will start to subside.
4. Eat something too! An easy way to drown out the sound of someone chewing like a cow is to chew something, too. Fight fire with fire, chip with chip, gum with gum. Try and be casual about it though. Don’t hate-crunch to make a point, that doesn’t solve anything.
5. Leave. Simple as that. If you don’t have to be where you are, get up and go somewhere else. You’re welcome.
6. Stop being a little bitch. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. The people chewing with their mouths open or crunching so loud that the earth is shaking may have been raised by wolves, but they are not the problem, you are the problem. It is not normal to freak out at people because they are doing something required to continue living. Humans literally have to eat or we die. So take a deep breath, and get the fuck over it. I know it sucks, it’s the WORST, but you can’t control everyone. That’s not how the world works, which is v unfortunate.
These tricks have worked for me. I’m 27, haven’t murdered anyone, people like me at work, and I still have most of my friends, so maybe, just maybe they can work for you too.