The past week, leading up to the decision to finalize my travel plans, has sparked some interesting thoughts about that time in my life... Firstly, while I was writing yesterday's post about this week being the last week of my 10-week fitness regime kickoff (yes, I enjoyed it so much, I renewed for another year), it occurred to me that I am right now at the exact age when the local TV station did their three-part report on heart attacks, which featured my father. (I wrote about it in my 2/24/13 post.) I thought to myself how, other than the fact that I never touched a cigarrette whereas my dad was a two-pack-a-day smoker, I am very much like him when he was my age. We're both Type "A" personalities with extremely stressful jobs, I'm only a little heavy for my own liking whereas he was quite overweight, he had a major heart condition that loomed over his well-being and my misophonia definitely has affected my way of life too... And yet we both
The second "deep thought" I had about those early years in my life was that my sensitivities to trigger sensations may not have had opportunities to reveal themselves because of how my environment was back then. It's not that I had a bad upbringing, but rather I grew up during those early years in a very isolated
environment. What I mean is that I was an only child and for some reason, my mother didn't want me to go to pre-school or even Hebrew school (which must have been frustrating for my dad since he grew up with a strong religious upbringing.) I didn't really have playdates with kids my age and by the time I was in middle school, my parents would head out to work and leave it up to me to get myself ready for school (which was only two blocks away.) Even at that young age, I had full control of my environment at home, so I wasn't exposed to eating triggers or fidgiting motions by hyperactive siblings. It was a very quiet environment, so the closest possible "trigger" sensations I can remember having at such a young age were more tactile annoyances by certain fabrics, like having to wear stockings. I couldn't stand that itchy, tight sensation on my legs and to this day, I'm still annoyed the feeling of nylons or other similar fabrics, or even the sound of someone rubbing their hand along their own stocking'd legs. Just thinking about that sound or the feeling of nylons rubbing directly against my skin gives me the shivers. It used to drive me crazy when I'd sit in the back seat of the car with my grandmother (before she passed away) and she'd constantly be rubbing her hand up and down her stocking'd leg, probably because her diabetes made the circulation in her legs very
uncomfortable. The scratchy sound made me want to jump out of the car, but instead I just sat there in agonizing discomfort anxiously waiting for us to get to our destination. Even nowadays, when I do feel it necessary to wear stockings for formal occassions, I wind up slathering a lot of lotion on my legs and hands
to buffer the feeling of that material against my skin and to lessen that scratchy sound while putting them on too. (I can't begin to tell you how much I've been squirming and shuddering in my seat as I typed that paragraph.)
As far as meals with my parents, I don't remember any eating trigger sounds from the dinner table, but to be honest, I don't remember much about the dinner table at all. I was a pretty picky eater, to put it mildly, but the only thing I remember about eating was that I was the type of kid who would go to Burger King and order a cheeseburger but without the meat! (I'm laughing to myself as I typed that out because here I am sitting at Caribou Coffee working on this blog entry eating... You guessed it... A grilled cheese sandwich!) My younger self probably would've thought I'm crazy as an adult because my eating habits have expanded a LOT since those early years... Sushi, asparagus, grilled mussels, escargot, BBQ bacon cheeseburger.... All
yummy to me now, and foods you couldn't get near me with a 50-foot pole when I was a kid!!! (Granted, my orthodox grandfather is probably turning over in his grave with that last one... Sorry, puppa!)
Putting my former eating habits aside, I doubt my dad would've crunched on ice (one of my triggers) because when he was in the army, long before I was even born, he was in a motorcycle accident that knocked out all his teeth. I remember he had dental bridges that sometimes caused him problems, so I doubt he would've been an ice cruncher. I also doubt I would've stayed at the dinner table long enough to hear my parents slurp hot coffee after the meal (if they did). I'm sure as soon as I was done eating, I would've asked to be excused so I could play Atari in the other room. I remember playing that a lot with my dad, and still have the game to this day. (I once tried connecting it up again when I lived in Philly back in the late '90s. The colors that came through the newer TV really hurt my eyes, so the only way I could play it was to switch it to black & white mode.) Pretty interesting how that game was the precursor to my passion professional work with 3D visualization computer graphics...
Digressions aside... I wonder had my environment as a kid been much less isolated/subdued, perhaps I would've been exposed to many more misophonia triggers and my frustrations with aural/visual/tactile sensations would've emerged sooner. In hindsight, I guess that's something I'll never know...