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Kwshpt-kwshpot - Ranch dressing bottle creates noise anxiety

Kwshpt-kwshpot. Kwshpt-kwshpot. Kwshpt-kwshpot.

On the menu tonight: Baked potatoes, aggressive conversation and slow torture, with a side of whining.

Kwshpt-kwshpot. Kwshpt-kwshpot. My oldest son squeezes the bottle of ranch dressing above his baked potato, spraying seasoned spittle over his food. We all stare at him, collectively annoyed, and I think everyone else is thinking what I'm thinking, but I quickly learn that I'm the only one thinking.

"Come on, man. Save some for me," says the 13-year-old, provoking his older brother to quickly compress the bottle several more times, kwshpt-kwshpot, before handing it on.

The next thing I know, we're all intensely glaring at the 13-year-old. This time I'm sure that everyone is thinking what I'm thinking, but, again, I very quickly find out that, after only two kwshpt-kwshpots, I'm still the only one thinking. He has small success spattering some splatter on his spud before another voice, that of the youngest boy, cries, "I want sooooome. You're using it all. Save some for meeeeeee."

We angrily grope around in the nebulae of a familiar, yet strange, phenomenon. Though it can happen almost anywhere and at any time, it frequently occurs when cooped up on a long road trip or while watching television or when trying to concentrate on an assignment with a deadline. Generally, one person is having FUN and one or more people are NOT, simultaneously.

Noise anxiety happens randomly and almost instantaneously in social situations in which one person creates a noise within the personal sound space of everyone else, instigating aggravation amongst his or her peers.

Inexplicably, the person emitting the maddening sound finds it most pleasant.

Even more confounding, if a furious individual manages to wrestle the noisemaker from the grasp of the person in possession of it and then begins to engage in using it, he is no longer irritated by the sound. Now the noise brings him extreme joy. At the same time, the previous custodian of the instrument of torture becomes wildly enraged by the racket coming from it.

Kwshpt-kwshpot. Kwshpt-kwshpot. Kwshpt-kwshpot.

The 11-year-old presses the sides of the bottle inward. Kwshpt. He releases. The bottle inhales pneumatically through ranch phlegm. Kwshpot. He screws on the green cap and shakes the bottle vigorously, then unscrews the cap and squeezes again. Kwshpt-kwshpot.

"Save some for meeeee," squeals his younger sister. "Oh myyyyyyy goshhhhhhh! You're hogging it all!"

As soon as she kwshpt-kwshpots, her anxiety alleviates and her happiness abounds. The rest of us, however, frown upon her and that dad-blame-it bottle. I can no longer hold it in, this thought I think in the absence of like minds. "The bottle is empty."

But Mr. Big Pants Condiment Policeman loses composure, saying, "I'm sick of a hundred half-used condiment containers crammed into the refrigerator. We will not open another bottle until this one is finished." Not five seconds ago, mind you, he knocked on the asylum doors himself, threateningly cautioning our daughter to do something about draining the remaining drips of ranch dressing into the spout before attempting to further express them onto her potato.

He takes control of the bottle, the long wait over, to demonstrate exactly how this is done. Holding it aloft, he begins one great downward sling designed to slide dressing toward the opening, then squeezes the bottle with maniacal delight.


It no longer matters that no one thinks like me. Clarity fogged by this odd phenomenon, I focus on wrapping my fingers around that bottle. One kwshpt-kwshpot abates my noise anxiety, blissfully numbing me to growling, whining and grumbling from my table-mates.

Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at and visit her Web site,

Web posted on Thursday, April 28, 2011

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