Thursday, January 03, 2013

Petty little cacophonies

One of my pet peeves is people who make annoying (and often disgusting) noises, oblivious to anyone around them. It is a cacophony that weighs heavily on my OCD nature.

I'm not sure why anyone would keep a peeve as a pet. They aren't very cute and cuddly (though they don't puke on the carpet or pee on my daughter's bed like our cats).

But I digress.

There is just something obsessively distracting about snorts, sniffing, wheezing, excessive throat clearing, hacking, phlegm rattles, grunts, sighs, heavy breathing and other similar sounds people make in public when they should only really make them when they are alone. Gyms and locker rooms are particularly notorious places for people to make disgusting sounds.

Maybe it is just me, but I find it hard to concentrate on my workout when someone is on the elliptical machine next to me grunting or clearing there throat every five seconds. The maddening thing about it is that you can't say anything to them about it. It is considered bad form to turn to the person and say, "Excuse me, but could you please stop making that disgusting sound or move to a different machine where no one has to listen to you?"

Why do people lifting weights have to grunt and shout all the time. Can't they be more Zen like about pumping iron? And I really get annoyed by overweight, naked people sitting in the locker room sighing heavily and wheezing after a workout. I also get annoyed by overweight, clothed people sitting in the locker room sighing heavily and wheezing after a workout. But at least they are wearing clothes.

Public transit is another source of disgusting people sounds, particularly buses. Doesn't matter where you sit, someone invariably sits next to you and begins "harrumphing" or clearing their throat of a phlegm ball the size of a small child. I won't even go into the smells that usually accompany these people.

I won't even go into the disgusting sounds that emanate from public rest rooms. Suffice it to say, I have a phobia about using one if anyone is in one of the other stalls.

My wife gave me a gift certificate for a massage for Christmas. It had been years since I'd had a massage and I was looking forward to it. When I got to the massage therapist, she took me to the therapy room and told me to undress and get under the sheets on the massage table face down. I complied and waited patiently for my relaxing massage, listening to the pleasant New Age music. The masseuse came in and began the massage. And then the noise began.

She snorted, wheezed and made sounds like a snoring elephant. I tried to ignore the sounds and enjoy the massage but it was like trying to relax in tuberculosis ward.

The sad thing is that I don't think most people are aware of the disgusting noises they make. Since I am annoyed by noises so much, I try to be aware of my own. My wife claims I snore, but I only have her word on it.  Other than that, I try and confine my obnoxious sounds to those times when I am alone and since they are my own noises, I am not really bothered by them.

After all if someone snorts, sniffs, wheezes, excessive clears their throat, hacks, rattles their phlegm, grunts, sighs, breathes heavily or makes other similar sounds and there is no one there to hear it, does it really make a sound?

Pretty Zen, huh?

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