"That's a really bad habit, Sabila," my brother comments each and every time I throw a piece of gum into my mouth and proceed to snap, crackle, and pop it with zero concern for the auditory peace of the folks in my vicinity.
Yes, I have mostly impeccable manners in public places.
Yes, these mostly impeccable manners are greatly compromised when someone offers an apres-dinner chew or when I fish out a stick of gum and a good book for entertainment during my commute.
Yes, some of my companions are shocked, dismayed, and galled upon experiencing the Nerddd snapping on a wad of gum.
No, I can't put my gum-snapping ways to rest. Gum played a significant role in my childhood and I have vivid memories of those days long ago, when a young Nerddd discovered the mysteries of chewing gum. I can pinpoint the moment: I was four or five years old and had spent the day running errands with my father in Manhattan--a day, which was, of itself, fantastic because it was just me and abu. We were heading back home on the PATH during rush hour, comfortably crammed into our seats, when a melodic symphony of pop-pop-pop caught my attention. It was coming from a large African American woman sitting across from us and I was held spellbound. What the woman was doing was the chewing gum equivalent of popping bubblewrap and, at that moment, I knew I wanted to learn how to snap gum.
The problem, however, was that I didn't even know how to blow bubbles with gum. So, that same week, I enlisted my mom's friend, B, to teach me. It must've been summer, though I'm not sure, but we were out on my balcony when she taught me. Pulling up a chair directly across from me, she demonstrated how to manipulate a wad of gum with my tongue until it was flat enough to push out and blow air into. And once I knew that, readers, snapping just as (some would argue) melodically became a habit that I just can't quit.
I'm a gum snapper. I will always be a gum snapper. People on the train will stare at me, annoyed, until my personal soundtrack fades into the background, right along with the sounds of the wheels on the track. My brother will always proclaim that I need to correct this horrible habit of mine. But, rest assured, I will always chew gum. I will always make sure that I catch pockets of air in my gum and I will always snap, snap, snap.
I'm a gum snapper.