OK, so two horrible headlines in one day. But I feel I’m justified in this one. There’s a feature today in the Guardian about how local councils in the UK are pushing to have a penny tax added to each pack of gum to help pay for the cost of cleaning up the gum which gets spat out on to the local pavements/sidewalks. Certainly many pavements in beautiful Edinburgh are horribly marred and scarred by white circles all over the place as louts think they can spoil it for the rest of us.
The writer, however, notes that just the act of chewing gum in the first place is the more repulsive act, and I have to agree. Seeing someone chewing away is something I find highly irritating, although I’m not sure why. Maybe I get jealous that I’m not eating or something. I believe in days of yore it was seen as an incredibly ungentlemanly act to eat in the street. What’s more gross of course is when the chewing is done noisily – a horrible invasion of my peace and privacy, almost worse than when someone listens to music too loudly through leaky headphones – at least then I get the satisfaction of knowing that they’re destroying their hearing. But with me it’s not just gum. When someone is eating crunchy food it hits something in me which makes me kind of cringe, but also just want to get out of the room as soon as possible. I’m not sure if it is again the jealousy that someone is eating something while I’m not, or just the weird echoey crunch as you hear the potato chip/crisp/nacho/celery/whatever get acoustically resonated and broadcast through the eater’s jaw and skull. It just turns my stomach and I wish I knew why. Maybe I should get help and/or a life.