Why Do Chewing Sounds Drive Us Nuts? -Morgen

There's a gal in our office who, bless her heart, pops and cracks her gum like crazy. I'm pretty sure she can't help it. I'm also pretty sure its a stress thing, but sometimes, at her most stressful times she will pop her gum for hours...HOURS I SAY! I'm assuming that this eliminates her from banging some heads in so I give her a pass, but the sound of it DRIVES ME NUTS! I can cope with a half hour, I can close my door for the next 90 minutes, but when I open my door, there it is again; that random popping and cracking that my brain can't tolerate any more than nails on a chalkboard. It becomes maddening, and even more so when it doesn't seem to bother anyone else. One might compare it to Poe's guilty conscience in "Telltale Heart" where he goes mad by the sound of a heartbeat nobody else can hear. It really is my problem I suppose since I'm in the minority. I have to come to accept that isolation is the only answer to maintain peace. It doesn't seem fair to ask someone to change their way of coping with stress to get through their day, but I have to figure out how to feel as if I'm not being held captive. I have to become ok with noise cancelling earphones. I have to be ok with closing my door and denying myself human contact for hours. This world is not mine to live in, it is mine to learn to cope while I try to live in it. -Morgen

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