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Noisy eaters are one of the worst parts of living in New York

Alexis Gutter

Snap. Crackle. Pop. These are sounds I don’t want to hear from your grossly agape mouth while you shovel in your morning cereal.

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Perhaps living in NYC—densely populated with humans and all their indecorous habits—is a bad idea for anyone who suffers from misophonia, the typically self-diagnosed (but gravely real) hatred of noises like chewing and sniffling. It’s no secret that, generally, each city dweller lives in a few-hundred-square-foot space, often shared with other people who probably snore, in an apartment building that almost certainly has leaky pipes, underneath tenants who obviously have a yappy dog. Yet month after month, we pay our rent, and year after year, we renew our lease just to continue traveling to work via the same subway cars overcrowded with mouth breathers, gum crackers and oafs who listen to music through earbuds that might as well be surround-sound speakers.

Sure, it’s on us sufferers of this rage-inducing condition to find coping mechanisms, which is why I listen to white noise for hours on end, like a psychopath, to mask the noise of that salad being crunched, that soup being slurped, those carrot sticks being gnawed. But people, since every smack of your lips registers to my ears as a pointy nail dragging down a long chalkboard, can you just close your trap? I remember learning “chew with your mouth shut” around the same time as “tell the truth.” Here’s the truth: Petting-zoo table manners make me want to spurn all restaurants with close-together tables (most NYC eateries), purchase three entire rows of seats on every flight I take and work from home during lunchtime.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll save my pennies to buy industrial-strength headphones for my white-noise listening pleasure.


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