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.

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