Sunday, March 17, 2013


JV: What do you live with Gabrielle?
Gabrielle: Well I live with a husband who gets scared if you sneeze near him.
(both laugh)
Gabrielle: I happen to be…both me and my sisters happen to be the loudest sneezers in the entire universe so he really lucked out with that one.
JV: Yep, Yep. So you’re very loud sneezers but is he scared of anyone sneezing?
Gabrielle: Oh yes, anyone at all so all his friends know now that they have to warn him. A tap on the shoulder or a wave or something like that.
JV: ‘I’m about to sneeze. I’m going to sneeze!’ And once he’s warned he’s okay?
Gabrielle: Yeah he’ll block his ears. Yep.
JV: Right.
Gabrielle: Yep.
JV: So he’s actually frightened? He’s got sneeze-o-phobia?
Gabrielle: He absolutely does. Sneeze-o-phobia and I think his sisters all had incredibly loud sneezes as well so maybe that set the scene for him later in life…for his phobia.
JV: How did he get on with his sisters?
Gabrielle:  He gets on with them all extremely well considering they all live in Ireland and he lives in Australia.
JV: Ah, see I think something happened there.
Gabrielle: Maybe.
JV: I think they would sneeze on their way in to tease him.
Gabrielle: Or sneak up behind him and sneeze.
JV: Yeah so he hears a sneeze and something bad’s about to happen.
Gabrielle: I don’t know. I really don’t quite understand it.
JV: Well he doesn’t live there. He’s moved.
Gabrielle: Yes, he’s moved, but he’s moved in with someone who has a really loud sneeze so…
JV: Hmm. How does he manifest this fear? What happens? Does he cry?
Gabrielle: (laughs) No he hasn’t cried but he’s just really disturbed. He gets really quite upset without crying.
JV: How long does that last, that moment of fear?
Gabrielle: Oh just an instant but for him it probably feels like a year.
JV: Right, and when you go and meet new people for example do you ever say ‘look, by the way, if you’re going to sneeze could you let us know?’
Gabrielle: Yeah we do. We absolutely do.
JV: (laughs)
Gabrielle: If we’re in a cafĂ© or a restaurant or something like that and somebody on another table or even around the corner sneezes, he looks at them as though ‘you should know better. I am within cooee of your presence and how dare you sneeze when I’m anywhere vaguely near you.’
JV: What about his own sneeze?
Gabrielle: It’s enormous as well. (laughs) So…
JV: Is he scared of his own sneeze though?
Gabrielle: No, he’s not. I did ask him that and no he’s not scared of his own sneeze. I don’t know, maybe he’s able to brace himself before he does it.
JV: But he’s able to work and go out into social circumstance?
Gabrielle: As long as somebody doesn’t sneeze near him, yeah.
JV: You’ll be pleased to know that Jo has written on the text service: ‘The sneeze-phobia is not unique. I have to warn my partner as well.’
Gabrielle: Well there you go.
JV: You’re not alone!
Gabrielle: He’s not alone. I’ll let him know.
JV: How long have you been together Gabrielle?
Gabrielle: Just over 10 years.
JV: 10 years and is the sneezing issue getting worse or..?
Gabrielle: Only if the house is dusty.
JV: No, I mean is his fear getting worse or staying the same?
Gabrielle: No, it’s the same. It’s been the same over the last 10 years.
JV: Well Gabrielle thank you so much for calling. It’s fascinating to meet you and your husband. I didn’t know there was a sneeze-phobia community in Sydney but we’ve met at least two of them this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Alarming Behaviour

JV: Hello Dan. You are a multiple alarmist of extreme proportions. Describe your morning process.

Dan: Well I have a mobile phone on vibrate under the pillow and then I have a dual alarm next to the bed. I have a wind up alarm clock on the other side of the room and I have the TV set at a certain time. Then I’ve also got an alarm set in the kitchen so that I have to get up.

JV: Now what time’s the vibrating mobile set for?

Dan:  2:30

JV: Oh 2:30 so…did you ring last week?

Dan: No.

JV: So are you a baker or something?

Dan: No, no, no. I work in the military but I have to be up by 4 and 2:30 is when I start the alarm process and slowly wake up. I sort of feel ripped off if I haven’t had multiple alarms.

JV: Don’t you just need a single call from a bugle?

Dan: (laughs) No, it takes me ages to get up.

JV: Aren’t you meant to be military ready? Y’know Dan , at the moment the enemy is coming,  you’re meant to just snap awake?

Dan: The alarm’s louder.

JV: So you have eight alarms?

Dan: Eight alarms yeah and I’ve gone down to one once or twice. The better half’s tried to convert me and it hasn’t worked.

JV: How could the better half even stay there if every day you’re doing this between 2:30 and 3?

Dan: Um…she’s amazingly patient. (laughs) I wouldn’t like to live with it.

JV: Amazingly patient. See you know and recognise the problem. You’ve got one on the other side of the room so do you get up, cross to the other side of the room, and then get back into bed?

Dan: Yeah.

JV: Oh man, I’d smother you with a pillow at that point.

Dan: I just feel like I’m getting more sleep that way. I don’t know why.

JV: Why don’t you set for 3 o’clock and just get up?

Dan: No, I’ve got to ease into the process mate.

JV: So your sense is that you’ve got to move slowly, you can’t just get straight out?

Dan: Yep. That’s it. That’s me to a T.

JV: Wow. Gee that’s an interesting foible isn’t it? Are you thinking of getting a job that perhaps starts at 8 in the morning?

Dan: No, I like the current job thanks.