I understood what she was going through, not just at that moment but every day. For I too am that person; the one who gets stuck next to the kid who has his music so loud I can hear every beat of the headache inducing, hardcore dance tunes that escape through his earphones, or the old lady who sniffs every two seconds instead of taking out a tissue and blowing her poxy nose. I am the girl who has to sit next to the man who hasn't showered in a year and keeps digging black wax from his ear canal.
But it's not just on the bus or train - this happens everywhere. Everything annoys me. In the canteen my ears twitch as I hear people preparing soup. I build myself up for the inevitable sipping and slurping that will follow. That or I leave the room and have lunch at my desk. At my brother's house I clench my teeth as my niece kicks a ball against the wall outside; bang, bang, bang. Christ - can you not just tell her to stop! In my own home I am tormented by the hissing sound from the radio. "Can you hear that? I can hear it, it's so annoying." My husband's answer: "just ignore it." Oh, but if it was that easy...
I was at the cinema with my friends a while ago. It was not a good experience. Getting me riled up at the cinema is like shooting fish in a barrel. There are so many irritants just waiting to be discovered. The guy with the barking cough, the woman who seems to use her bag of Minstrels as a maracas, the kids who whisper "Why did he do that" to their parents every five seconds, teenagers who kick the back of your chair... The list is endless.
Anyway, this time was particularly bad. Some guy behind us wouldn't shut up with a running commentary through the whole film. Another person was checking his Twitter feed on his phone, lighting up the place whenever he got an update. But the most annoying was this guy who got up out of his chair five times during the film. FIVE TIMES! He was sitting right in front of me and I was ready to kill him by the end.
As we left I said it to my friends and they looked at me like I was mentally deranged. "What are you talking about?" "I didn't notice anything." "Why didn't you just watch the film?"
But... how could I watch the film with all those distractions? Couldn't they understand that? Apparently not. Their question: "Why be looking around you if you know it's going to piss you off?"