Dear Colleague, Please Stop Eating Noisily: An Open Letter

Dear well meaning colleague,

As you’d know, there are many kinds of colleagues that make our work lives difficult. Here’s a list for reference. However, what this list callously misses out on is colleagues who eat too noisily. You, unfortunately, are one such colleague.

eating noisily
image: theMetroUK2

In your defence, these hazaar food delivery startups are to blame for making lives easier, people lazier, mouths chewier. When earlier you’d just step out for a quick lunch, now you just log in to one of the startups in the ‘hood and order yourself a nice, extra crunchy Caesar salad, with crisps on the side, delivered straight to your desk, which, to the dismay of those around you, you also savour at your desk.

And then it starts. The warning bells come with the swish swish of unwrapping the contents of your latest culinary acquisition. Then seconds later, the myriad biting, swirling, chewing, squelching, regurgitating noises follow one after the other. I’m sure all the food, the snacks, the crisps form a lovely party in your mouth, but spare the others the music!

I lay low for the first few days you did it. After all, we all have our moments. A burp here, a fart there. Heck, I’d even take the nonstop iPhone pings your hypersocial life denotes. But what is it about chewing noises in your surroundings that make you want to shut forever the perpetrator’s mouth with Fewiqwik?  Especially when the said noises happen in an otherwise meditatively peaceful office where the only other sounds to be heard are the faulty UPS going on and off, and the occasional snoring.

To be fair to you, I wondered if I’m really blowing things out of proportion. The possibilities I considered.

  • I have tinnitus
  • I have super-normal aural powers that magnify sound
  • I really hate you

But, a lot of internet research (A Twitter search) revealed that I’m not the only one. Not being able to tolerate other people eating noisily is a universal phenomenon. It affects 1 out of 1 people every single day. Here’s exhibit A.

Elan Gale, here, is my soul sister. As as are these other victims of noisy-eating.

eating noisily

The next few days I even tried to take matters into my own hands. I’d jam on my heavy duty pair of Sennheisers hard and play the most extreme piece of Thrash Metal I could find on YouTube. Other days, I’d simply leave the desk, and go for a no reason walk till you were done with your masticating ritual.

chewing noisily
source: giphy

But then, darling, as you know it’s 40 degrees outside and there’s nowhere for me to hide anymore. The music is now giving me headache. And much as I thought I should bring it up with you, I have been advised against it should you hate me for the rest of your tenure in this office and have a mysterious meeting with my boss. After all, who knows if that one employee got fired because the company was restructuring or just because he dared to bring up a debilitating noisy eating habit of a colleague. 

It’s happening at such alarming regularity and duration that it’s becoming hard to concentrate on all the Facebooking and Buzzfeed-ing in the office with the incessant chewing sounds.

I mean I’m sure you’re a lovely person otherwise. You come to office at 12, a whole 3 hours after me, and leave at 5pm, a whole 3 hours before me. You regularly check on your husband with the sonorous “baby, you ate noooo”?, while updating him on your menu in great detail so I’m sure you’re a great wife too. Just that, that those loud, chomping noises like 1 feet away from me, you’re not winning the favourite colleague of the year award from me anytime soon. *withdraws home-made cookies*

Next time sweetheart, do us all a favour and every time you wanna get a bite, get a room. Or maybe just maybe consider closing the mouth a little and chewing slowly.  (And while you’re at it, cleaning up after yourself and not letting the sugar-soaked tiffin lids or spoons on the desk would be IDEAL!)

Hey, if nothing else, some good ol’ soggy khichdi in the tiffin should fix the noise issues till we have a permanent solution. And whatever you do, do NOT order that extra slurrrrrpy soup or cold drink.

Om Nom Nom Nom!