A few days ago I met a sound editor who was paralyzed by the sound of people eating. It didn’t help that Amy and I were eating rice crackers dipped in hummus right behind him in a sound proof room; we were whispering and chuckling too which probably added to the crunch/slurp/breathing effect.
Ok, I gotta… I gotta stop for a second. He hunched his shoulders and bowed his head.
Oh no, it’s the eating thing, isn’t it? this from Amy mid crunch.
He nodded sadly.
What eating thing? I stopped with a cracker in front of my mouth.
“He doesn’t like the sound of people eating.” Amy did not look like she was going to stop crunching any time soon. She looked at me and waved her hand. She shook her head: no big deal.
That sounds like a problem.
It’s really not good for my marriage.
Have you tried to sort that out?
Well if we play music or have the TV going, that helps.
No I mean, you know, like examined it a little more deeply.
He took a deep breath, yeah, it all goes back to my father.
Boom. That’s what I’m talking about.
I know, I know, it’s an ongoing problem.
It’s good that you can talk about it though. I mean that’s half the battle right there.
I look over at Amy, she is shoveling tablespoon size glops of hummus onto the cracker and eating them. Crunching, slurping, breathing. Like many of our conversations, this next one is all unspoken, but happens in a brief series of glances:
Come on, WTF, the guy is having a hard time.
He needs to get over it.
I can’t enjoy eating now, I’m too self conscious.
Don’t baby him.
I look over to him. His shoulders are pulled up; he might even be trembling. I feel bad for a minute but then I remember: he’s a sound editor for godsake, he needs to deal, and I reach for the crackers.