Chomping away at my sanity


Photo by Yousuf El-Jayyousi

Katie Whaley

I rolled over on my side, fluffing up my pillow for the hundredth time and pulling the covers tighter around me. Through a squint, I stole a glance at the clock on my bedside table. 2 a.m. It was happening again.
I twiddled my thumbs and tried breathing deeply, as if that would bring the Sandman with his magical sleeping dust. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to sleep, but I was haunted by the abhorrent events from earlier that day. Just thinking of it made me boil in rage.
It had happened so suddenly. One minute I was taking notes on the PowerPoint in my English class. The next, I was viciously attacked by the heinous sound of crackling potato chips; a boy across the room had pulled out a bag of Lays and began snacking on them, loudly.
In an instant my functioning systems started shutting down; my hand refused to copy the words on the slides, my eyes stayed glued to the salty fingers of the assailant, and the sound of each prolonged crunch overwhelmed and prevented my brain from thinking about anything but the boy who had the audacity to chew his food that obnoxiously during a lesson. It was impossible for me to focus on anything else; each bite was a gunshot, resounding through the room with a thunderous boom that clawed my eardrums.
I was on edge. If one is intent on eating crunchy food in public like that boy, he or she should at least put the whole thing in his or her mouth and chew with sealed lips. Blatant chewing is extremely disruptive and disrespectful, so one who chews loudly must be considerate. On that note, it would make even more sense that people can only eat loud foods during lunch so their munching is not a disturbance. They should have a table set off to the side of the cafeteria where they can eat together in boisterous chaos.  
Yet, that may not be enough to keep the firecracker snacking away from the rest of us. There is no way I could enjoy my meal if I was anywhere near a large group of loud eaters. People who chew noisily or eat crispy food should have to dine in a separate, soundproof room. There should be monitors marching around the school, checking everyone’s lunches for carrots, chips, apples, dry cereal, gum and all other loud foods, and people who have them must go into that isolated room.
This same system should take place in every restaurant across the nation, nay, the world. That way, noisy eaters won’t interrupt the meals of others so that everyone can dine in peace.
But what if these people refuse to go into separate rooms or continue eating loudly in public places? After two offenses, the federal government should step in and mark a person’s wrist with a tattoo recognizable by electronic scanners. The scanners will sit by the doors of grocery stores, and an alarm will sound whenever someone with the tattoo crosses through.
Then, a worker will accompany the person throughout their visit and keep him or her from buying crunchy food, staying with them until they leave the store. This will prevent loud eaters from persisting in chewing food loudly, since they will not have access to buying that kind of food. Waiters at restaurants will also carry handheld scanners to be sure they catch loud eaters and give them menus with a selection of only quiet, soft foods.
Although this system is flawless, it still irks me that loud eaters could somehow smuggle gum to smack their lips with or crackers to monstrously munch on. There should be a law that allows dentists to pull out all the teeth of a loud eater if they break any of the aforementioned rules. People should be able to report anyone who eats in any way that causes a disruptive noise. That person will then go to the dentist to get their teeth removed. That way, we can save the world from repugnant chewers.
My entire body was tense, my fists balled and nails digging into my palms. I inhaled deeply, stealing another glance at the clock. 3 a.m. I was wide awake, just like yesterday and the day before that and the day before that… I needed to let this go. All these sleepless nights, lying under the blankets in rigid enmity, was no use of my time. No matter how bothered I was by loud eaters, I could do nothing about it. I needed to let this go.