Yesterday, I had two back-to-back meetings in the same conference room and even though I prepared myself by putting in my earplugs even before I entered the room (I can remove earplugs much more discretely than I can insert them), of course I had to sit directly across from the principal leading the first meeting, who started whistling as he was setting up his presentation. (FYI: This was the same principal that not only gave me a hard time about my blocking out my calendar last Wednesday, he's also the same principal that whistled while reading a menu during our business trip too. How the heck am I *always* sitting across from him?!?!?) As annoyed as I was when he started whistling, I calmly and politely said to him, "Please don't whistle." Believe it or not, he said, "I'm sorry," and stopped! This is a man that intimidates me, and yet he respected me enough to stop. (And yes, he is aware of my misophonia.) What a relief!
Of course, that particular meeting was held during lunchtime and the bag lunches had potato chips, but whereas the whistling sound cut through my earplugs, any crunching noises (if there were any) did not.
The next meeting, was a much smaller group (only seven of us, versus about twenty people in the other meeting) and unfortunately, the person who started whistling before the meeting started was someone I didn't know well (nor was he aware of my misophonia). Regardless, I again calmly and politely asked the person if he could stop whistling, and again I was very grateful that he did. Now, maybe the kindness of both whistlers has a bit to do with the genuinely nice personalities of the people out here in the Midwest, but whatever it is, I'm so thankful that they did respect my requests enough to stop. Granted, they wouldn't have whistled during the meeting but I might have had to walk outside until the meeting started if they hadn't stopped when I asked them.
Today, I wasn't at the office, but I still had a couple of whistling encounters. I traveled to one of our other office locations to work on a team project installation and experienced my first two whistlers of the day at a Starbucks: One was a customer who just entered the cafe, the other was one of the barristas. Unfortunately, I didn't feel comfortable asking either person to stop, but luckily the webinar I was attending was about to start. I was able to plug into my favorite earbuds and completely tune them out.
Once that was done though, I went over to the gallery where our teams were setting up an exhibit of our designs. Someone in our gallery (as well as in the adjacent gallery) started whistling and it was much more annoying than any of the prior experiences over the two days. Unlike the other locations, this gallery had concrete floors and very large, open spaces. If you've ever heard the kind of echo that occurs when a person whistles in a stairwell, that's what this sounded like. The sound just echoed all around me and even though I had earplugs in my purse, I had my hands full helping my teammates install our panel elements and regardless, my purse was halfway across the room. There was no way I could discretely stop what I was doing. Oh well. The whistling was brief and now it's in the past too. Having a two-hour drive home also gave me a lot of time to meditate and de-stress from the tension caused by the whistling.
Sometimes, when I don't have any choice in the matter, I just have to grit my teeth and hope that the triggers are short ones. Luckily for me today, they were...