Imagine you are at the theatre or cinema. You quite possibly don’t come very often; it’s expensive isn’t it? You sit through the crappy adverts and trailers…the theatre goes dark…music…opening scene and… BAM! Some bastard opens a packet of sweets.
Do you ignore it? Can you ignore it?
I sure as hell can’t.
Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. But not just any sound, there are usually specific sets of sounds that trigger a response in the listener. For many it is lip-smacking or open-mouthed-eating noises, or pen clicking and repeated sniffing.
Cinemas Should Sell Quiet Food
I personally cannot bear it when people sniff repeatedly – I offer a paper tissue. Pen clicking makes me want to slap the writing implement right out of their hand.
But most annoying is background noise in theatres. Watching Black Panther recently, a man seated in the row behind me opened his sweet packet after the movie had begun – why not do it before-hand? And at regular intervals, he opened a noisy wrapper, and even stuffed his hand into the packet on his kid’s lap. Honestly, just shut the fuck up!
Fight or Flight
And it doesn’t stop at the ears. For the duration of one of these trigger events, my muscles tense, my jaw clenches; I can feel my heartbeat rise – my body is essentially preparing for a fight!
So, for the rest of the movie, my ears were attuned, not to the wonderful experience before me, but to the crunchy, scrunching behind me. I was fit to burst by the end.(It didn’t help that the woman next to me read all the subtitles to her son).
Seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband was with me, I may have clobbered the man with his own child. Hubby says “Just ignore it.” or “Tune it out.” The problem is, I can’t. Believe me, I have tried.
But why was I so angry? I mean, I was REALLY angry. I swore all the way home, driving in a manner to cause hubby to leave nail indents in the car seat. I would have loved to vent my anger on sweet-wrapper-man (and the woman), to drown him in a barrage of expletives and venom.
Is It Just Me?
So, do I have an anger management issue, or some perception of sound issue? This is a regular event for me. At work there is a lady who makes this little half-cough-half-noise in her throat, we are only in the same room for staff development once or twice a year – but I want to strangle her by the end of the morning. Another person I know breathes heavily! I want to shout “Stop fucking breathing! You might die? So what!” My own father used to make weird shuffle motions and noises with his hands and feet when watching the TV, (I did shout then), a student smacks his lips and my hackles rise. Another has a snuffly cold and I’m tempted to punch him in the head!
Misophonia is difficult to identify. Studies have been done, but it doesn’t come under an particular ‘umbrella’ – it isn’t a physical difficulty, it isn’t a mental health issue, so what is it? And is there a way to ‘cure’ it?
Maybe cinemas and theatres should have Misophonia Days, so people who may fall into this uncategorised category can watch their entertainment in peace!
What irritates you, drop me an angry comment.