Sometime in high school, I recall making two lists. An “I Like” and an “I Don’t Like” list. The “I Don’t Like” list was much, much longer. “I don’t like cold butter” was on the list. Because seriously? What is more annoying than going to butter a piece of bread with some cold piece of butter, and all you do is mangle your bread with some big clump of butter dug into the upper left corner while the rest of the piece remains sad and lonely.
A large percentage of my day is spent sighing in reply to my constant annoyance. I mean, really, don’t all these other human beings understand that I, Liz, understand the one true and correct way to conduct themselves in public? Don’t they understand I have major space issues, and I don’t appreciate them walking so close to me when they have plenty of other room to get from point A to B?
The question is: have I always been so annoyed? I think yes, but what I am realizing is that it tends to deal mostly with how people interfere with my perception of space and my place in it. I really don’t understand why people don’t look where they are going. I don’t understand why people don’t just GO at the green light, but I would like to think it’s because they’ve always wanted to know what a 1992 Honda Accord’s horn sounds like. I also feel sorry for the next person who crowds me in line at the grocery store because I’ve decided that I am going to start confronting these public space invaders. I should have done this to a guy at the store yesterday who stood maybe 1.3 inches behind me. I wanted to head-butt him, Zidane style. (That’s a soccer reference to the one time I watched a game, and it happened to be the World Cup.) I think the aggression comes from growing up with brothers.
But it’s not just my spacial issues. In fact, I’ve been reading a lot lately about Sensory Processing Disorder. Pretty much I am always, to some extent, in “fight or flight” mode with regard to what I take in through my senses. I absolutely do not tolerate whistling, any kind of high pitched noises, such as squeaky shopping carts, which unfortunately are a part of my life since I work in a grocery store. One time a customer had such a squeaky cart that I went and got her a non-squeaky one and personally transferred all of her groceries from one cart to the other. She was sympathetic but replied, “I have three kids, I just don’t notice these things.” To which I said, “well, I don’t have kids, so I do.” However, I don’t think it has anything to do with kids. In fact, I remember riding on a bus full of about twelve thousand nine-year-olds (okay maybe thirty) for six hours as a camp counselor, and my ears were literally ringing after that bus ride.
Okay okay, the point. (Is there one?) Back to the whole Sensory Processing Disorder. You can look it up for yourself, but pretty much I have an “adverse reaction to what most people consider harmless sensations” says author Sharon Heller of “Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight.” I am annoyed. By everything. Or so it seems. It explains why I often feel like the world is out to get me, why I am a literal people magnet. It also explains why I had to go to Rite-Aid to get ear plugs on my lunch break today because so many customers had squeaky carts, and for some reason everyone was whistling today, and I had to buy ear plugs in order to make it through the rest of the day without breaking into tears or throwing up. Because I felt like doing both. I wish I was kidding.