In this era of global chaos, it can be easy to forget that there are events that don’t elicit extreme reactions such as despair, euphoria or terror, but have an emotional effect on us nonetheless. To remind you what that feeling is, consider the following: the noise emanating from your seatmate’s headphones; someone standing a fraction too close to you in line; the website that takes forever to load. Ah yes, there it is—annoyance. Are some things objectively annoying? Possibly. As Flora Lichtman, co-author of the 2011 book Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, suggested in an interview with NPR, there’s something about the mix of frequencies that makes the sound of fingernails running down a blackboard intrinsically aggravating. “But that’s sort of rare, ” she adds. “Most annoyances seem pretty personal.” On the other hand, a 2009 study by Noah Eisenkraft and Hillary Anger Elfenbein described a concept called “affective presence.” This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-six Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.