I'm here working late to make up for being out of the office yesterday and I kept hearing a tapping sound coming from the other side of my partition. Very few people are still here but I walked over to see if someone was sitting in our reception waiting area drumming his fingers out of boredom. I took a quick glance and not seeing anyone in the darkness (the area was just lit by the glow from the street lights outside the storefront windows), I went back to my desk. I figured it must be some natural creaking in the mechanical system. After a while, the quick, repeated tapping sound became extremely annoying so I went back to look again and saw that there was indeed water dripping from above my coworker's area. I assumed that it was a sprinkler pipe leaking, since all the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) systems are exposed; so, I went to the head of our engineering department, figuring he'd want to know. When we both went back to take a closer look, I realized that the water was coming from ABOVE the sprinkler pipes, in between the cracks of the wooden slats of the exposed ceiling.
Putting my super-hearing aside, the reason why I haven't posted in a couple of days is because I decided to surprise my family back in NY by coming home this past weekend. I decided this year that I didn't want to go home for Thanksgiving, for two huge reasons: 1) Traveling home from the Midwest is a pain in the neck even during non-peak travel periods (let alone traveling during Thanksgiving week which is absolute hell), and 2) I dread coming home for the holidays because I'm always uncomfortable during Thanksgiving family gatherings. Ever since I learned I had misophonia last year, I now know why I've been so miserable. Of course, eating triggers are at their highest during Thanksgiving feasts, but there's also the fact that I hate being smushed in the middle of the table with adjacent chairs knocking into mine, my brother-in-law and nephew constantly whistle around the house (and since it's their house, I don't feel comfortable asking them to stop), the sound of clinking
I knew my family wouldn't be happy about my decision, and it was very difficult to tell my folks and sister last week. I decided at the last minute to go home this weekend since my sister had surgery yesterday, my uncle had surgery about a week ago, and my aunt's special birthday is coming up this Thursday. Yes, I did surprise them... It took a few seconds for my aunt to register that it was me standing at the door when I rang her bell but when I knocked at my sister's door the next day... She screamed so loud that my niece and brother-in-law came running to see what happened.
All in all, it was a good weekend. I had a long conversation with my aunt and uncle about my misophonia, and finally was able to show them the 20/20 video report about misophonia so they could have a better understanding of what I go through. Going to my sister's house was interesting because they were all very mindful of my discomfort to being licked by their larger black lab, but they could also see that I don't hate dogs because the little Chihuahua-dachshund mix cuddled up next to me on the couch for a long time. I was very comfortable petting her since, as long as I kept my hand away from the front of her face, she didn't lick me. In general though, I noticed that my family would frequently ask me if certain things they were doing throughout my stay triggered my misophonia. Most times I was proactive and was wearing earplugs, so I didn't hear the sounds. Occasionally though, it wasn't something that normally triggered me. It was nice to know that they were trying to be mindful of what things do and don't trigger my misophonia.
The actual traveling back and forth brought my typical trigger exposure experiences; however I did have an interesting thing happen on the second leg of my trip back... I boarded the plane and the cell phone of the person behind me kept making that annoying whistle noise every time he got a message. I asked him if
he could please turn the phone to vibrate because I have a medical condition that makes that whistling sound hurt my ears. He said he needed to make a call home to his son first, but when he ended his call, he asked me more about my medical condition. It turned out that he was a neurologist that specializes in
epilepsy, so when I told him more about my misophonia, he seemed intrigued. He agreed with my sentiment that since my triggers are caused by visual and tactile as much as aural sensations, it seems logical that it could be a neurological condition. I gave him a business card with the information for this website and also wrote the name of the "Sound Rage" book along with the author's name. The neurologist gave me his card too, so I'm hoping I might be able to continue the discussion with him at a later time. Who knows, perhaps he or some of his colleagues may be interested in delving more into misophonia.