I googled the issue further, and found that a lot of other people are experiencing similar issues, and that it might be a bug in Chrome v20+ across multiple platforms. As with my experience, a lot of people are reporting that the issue is worst in gmail. You can read more about people's experiences with it here: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=134799
One suggestion is the integrated flash plugin is not cooperating with chrome in some way, and some people have had success with the following command:
When I tried this all I got was a separate chrome window opening and the message "Created new window in existing browser session." Afterwards, typing "about:plugins" in the chrome search bar shows that the only flash player installed is shockwave flash v11.3.xxx, so I'm not sure if this did anything. However since then I have not experienced the issue. I do know that there have been issues in the past with chrome's flash plugin, especially if you have another flash player installed on your OS, so I wouldn't be surprised if this were the culprit.