Oct 8, 2006

That's not the way it should be

I begin this post with the ending: I wound up with an O.B. tampon sticking out of my left ear on Friday. See, I'm playing with chronology, Pulp-Fiction-style.

I had to stick the O.B. tampon in my ear because I didn't have my squooshy ear plugs that I've started carrying around in my purse. I could have stuck a tampon in each ear, but that would have looked silly. So I opted for just the ear nearest where the offending noise was coming from. Why would a full-grown woman stick a tampon in her ear? What sound could be so terrible as to warrant doing such a thing in an office setting?

I was down in the D.C. office on Friday, working with a very upstanding, kind, and capable human being for whom I have nothing but respect. There is something military about him, like he might call you "ma'am" or say "yes, sir" to people. He's quite clean-cut and totally polite.

So anyway, I was down there on Friday helping him with a project. I was frustrated because I had gone all the way down there and got very little done, given that the computer wasn't connecting to our network and I spent most of the day crawling around on the floor plugging and unplugging different cables to different data ports to see which link was the broken one. At just about the time where I felt like giving up (which is essentially never, for me, I mean I NEVER give up), my colleague goes and pops in a piece of gum and starts cracking it over at his desk.

For those of you who are not imaginary and who actually know me, you know this is my most major pet peeve. When I can actually hear the sound, however faint, of gum moving around in anyone's mouth, I get irate. I literally get a homicidal feeling if I hear popping sounds. I know something's wrong with me, I've known it for a long time. But I'll be damned if I know what to do about it.

Colleague is over there cracking his gum, and the blood is rising in my head. My life is flashing before my eyes, and I'm testing out alternate scenarios for making it stop:

"Uh, excuse me, but can you do me a favor and stop cracking your gum? Sorry, It's a pet peeve of mine and I will actually kill you shortly if you don't, so taking it out will be a win-win situation for both of us.

"Uh, excuse me, but well, um, it's kind of hard to explain, but you seem like a nice understanding person, and uh, well, the thing is that the gum, I just can't take it, I hope you understand, I need you to take it out, yeh, um, I hate to be a bitch, but, yeh, I know it's just gum, uh, but I don't want to go back to jail so please, just trust me...


This is a really sad story for me, because this kind of reaction has haunted me forever. My mom used to love telling me I had a tolerance problem. I do have a tolerance problem.

Thank God for Kelly Feighan. The other day Kelly and I were sitting in a diner with some friends we ran into at the flea market, and somehow the topic turned to pet peeves. When Kelly admitted that she absolutely can't stand the sound of people drinking from water bottles with squirt-tops, I fell in love with her.

She went on to describe... "You know, people create a suction between their mouth and the bottle top, and then when they break the suction it makes this cracking sound when the plastic pops back into shape, followed by a moist whooshing sound coming off their lips. It's horrible." Then we went on to admit that we both routinely change seats on the train if anyone's making any horrible noises, or talking too loud on their cell phones. I am really glad to know it's not just me.

Now, no need to get all oversensitive around me for fear you'll piss me off. I'm a reasonable person. Just stay away from the gum, the cell phone, all water bottles, toenail clippers, nail files, chalk, packing tape, and anything else inexcusable, and we'll continue getting along just fine.


Blogger lil miss dubin opined...

ok, dubin, true story: i've picked up from you the homicidal feeling that results from listening to gum popping. it's contagious. i was on BART yesterday and i swear to you this woman behind me was pop-pop-popping away and i started to feel the blood rising. so i kept half turning around to try to give her mean, mean looks with my laser beam eyes. but she kept doing it. and then she got on the phone and kept doing it while simultanesouly gabbing to some broke family member who was trying to hustle her for the money to enroll in cosmetology school. it was completely maddening. finally i had to get up and walk clear to the front, even though i had a big suitcase with me. and then when i got off and was innocently adding fare to my BART ticket at the machine, who was in line behind me in the station?! i almost went crazy and whacked her in her face with my marc jacobs bag. the moral of the story is that when someone gets homicidal at the sound of someone else snapping gum, the only person who suffers is the intolerant person, not the gum snapper. and you know that. but what can you do? there's no going back now. so thanks for making me mean like you. kidding.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

If you wouldn't have touched me with your moist toes all those years, I wouldn't have burned you. I mean, I wouldn't have made you mean, like me. Kidding. I still would have.

9:48 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

A guy at the airport told me a pretty good story about the time that he was on a train platform and one dude was talking waaay too loud on his cell phone and peeving the crap out of everyone else so another dude got out a notebook and started logging the conversation.

Apparently the logger claimed (in dude's story, this was truth, but we all have to admit that you just can't know) that he was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and that he found the conversation very interesting and that he was planning to use these notes in an upcoming article.

It nearly came to fisticuffs, but the upshot was that the talker snapped his phone shut and sat there glaring at the reporter.

I don't know if there is a similar strategy you can use with gum. I am thinking of investing in actual fitted earplugs. My cousin has some. They are all customized for your ear.

PS, I know I'm it. I gotta get to work and stop commenting on your blog.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Bob V opined...

I am at this very moment the closest I have ever been to being curious about the actual geometry of a tampon.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Dubin opined...

Bob V will be seen at CVS furtively buying tampons.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Bob V opined...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Bob V opined...

Thank goodness for self checkout lanes. The ones that accept cash are the best because that way they can't tie you to the purchase with your credit card.

Has anyone ever seen men lurking just outside the feminine hygiene aisle waiting for the women in there to clear out? Because that's totally what I'd be doing if I had to go in there.

12:49 PM  
Blogger lach opined...

Hi Dubin,

As I sit here listening to the sound of gum popping which I've been listening to every day for what seems to be an eternity, I ran across your blog - thank God I'm not the only one who absolutely HATES gum popping. I swear to you, I feel like I'm going to snap and strangle the life of person committing what I consider to be a heinous crime!!! I've reported it to the office manager and I'm hoping and praying that she'll do something about it. Of course, I could say something but I'm one of those people who likes to keep the peace among co-workers and I've asked the office manager to tell all of us admins to refrain from doing it. This person works for the Chairman, President and CEO of the company and I for the life of me do not understand how in the world he tolerates it. Just hearing it makes me want to scream - I can't even focus on my work becuase of it. I just wanted to vent and understand completely how you feel about it!!!

10:38 AM  

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