My husband is eating a blackberry five inches from my face, and it’s as loud as fuck. I lean back and give him the evil eye, and he knows he needs to stop making the noise immediately or I am going to throw him down. He laughs, takes a step closer, crunches louder and in my ear, tells me I’m crazy. I run out of the room, my heart pounding. He’s the one capable of making a blackberry crunch at epic decibels. Clearly, the crazy one here is him!
I have been told I am not the most “normal” person in certain situations. When someone sneezes in a car, I roll down my window with the urgency of a crack addict looking for another hit. When we go to Costco to buy toilet paper in bulk, and some lazy asshole is dragging his feet on the concrete floor, I feel like I’m going to vomit. When we go to the movies and get trapped between mouth-stuffing popcorn eaters, I need to move my seat.
But this time, my husband is right. I am crazy, and I am overjoyed to admit it.
Turns out, I have a legit disease. It even verified and documented on the “LIVE Kelly and Michael” show. Kelly Ripa announced on national television that she suffers from misophonia. So it mustbe real. Pronounced mis-oh-foh-niă, it’s literally “hatred of sound,” a neurological disorder in which negative experiences—anger, flight, hatred, or disgust—are triggered by specific sounds.
Kelly said something to the effect of having to leave the house when her husband eats a peach, and my mouth fell open. Here I was all these years thinking that the world and everybody in it severely annoyed only me. I nearly dropped to my knees with this revelation that I am not the only one with a slurpy, chompy fruit-eating crazy-inducing husband.
I rush to tell him about my newfound diagnosis.
“Kelly Ripa, the soap opera star-turned-talk show host! We both have misophonia. We are soul sisters! She wants to punch her husband when he eats a peach! Can you believe it?”
I tell him it’s a rarely diagnosed mental illness, which means he is right: I am crazy.
“Isn’t this an amazing discovery?”
He walks away, crunching on a handful of almonds as I consider slaying him with a kitchen knife.
I might never convince him of my disorder. But it’s real and I have lived with it my entire life. Running water, pens clicking, nail clippers, humming, beeping, whistling, sucking, slurping, chewing, bass booming, leaf blowers, lawn mowers . . . the list goes on and on and on.
There are ways to soften the irritable sounds—but no need for earplugs here because I recently found out that I am losing my hearing. Having to wear double hearing aids at the ripe old age of 44 would make most women cry, but instead I am jumping for joy. Relief, actually. I can just turn those bitches off when things start to get too loud.
It must be hereditary. If I really want to piss off my older sister I just call her up and rustle a plastic shopping bag over the phone. I am sure to get an instant hang-up with a soon-to-be returned call with her slurping on a bowl of cereal into the receiver.
And as I laugh at the irony of the hearing aids and the insanity of it all, I look at my six-year-old daughter falling asleep next to me.
“Mom, can you stop breathing so loud?” she whispers.
“I’m sorry baby doll, I totally understand,” I tell my poor little mini-me. “I will try breathing in another direction. Or better yet, not at all.”