Monday, December 21, 2009

Tickle Timing

There are lots of places where coughing is a bad idea. Tons of them.

For example, it is a bad idea to cough at an auction. One false move and suddenly you're the winning bidder. You are the proud owner of a cracked chamber pot that may or may not have once been used by George Washington and the possible evidence is still contained within. All because of a cough.

It is also a bad idea to cough if you are hiding. Or if you are defusing a bomb. Or at the movies because people just hate that. The list of places where you shouldn't cough is endless.

And now I can add one more. You should not cough at a workshop entitled Public Enemy #1: The Spanish Influenza of 1918.

I tried to fight it. When I felt that first little tickle at the back of my throat, I knew that I shouldn't cough. Frankly, I think it was that bit of insight that made things worse. There was too much pressure. Before I knew it, the first bark erupted.

"Well, that wasn't very good," I thought. "But at least it's over."

It wasn't. The tickle kept right on doing its thing. It wasn't a "sick" cough. It was a "tickle" cough. But any cough that can't be controlled is going to sound "sick" after a while. And the more you try to stop it, the more insistent it will be.

There are two kinds of people who sign up for a workshop on an historical pandemic. The first are the history teachers. They mostly want to develop relevant curriculum. The rest of us are all paranoid types who want to learn as much as possible about the history of disease because we are morbid and weird. It was that second group that worried me. They didn't care that I was One Of Them.

Finally, I had to leave to go find some water. The tickle wasn't giving up. In fact, the tickle was tickled pink by the situation as far as I could tell. Even the rational history buffs were starting to get a little nervous as I sputtered and hacked. It was only a matter of time before I was quarantined in a closet or burned at the stake.

The tickle wasn't easily beat back and still caused some problems upon my return to the workshop. By then, the discussion had turned to the more recent H1N1 outbreak and how it compared to that of 1918. I wasn't coughing as much. But even a little cough was an issue under those circumstances. Sidelong glances became the order of the day.

Once the workshop was done, the tickle went away. It didn't come back. I could have used it by the last session when an exit would have been welcome and I wouldn't have cared who thought I was a plague carrier. Stupid tickle...

On the bright side, I managed to knit up about four inches of sock cuff. Workshops are good for knitting time. You sit, you knit and you pretend to listen. Before you know it, you have a goodly amount of progress on The Sock That Is Disturbingly Sparkled.

Tomorrow promises to be a great knitting day. There are no "choice" workshops. Everything is assigned and involves "collaborative time." I'll probably knit a whole sock and have time to whip up a couple of dishcloths while I'm at it. Boring agenda? Oh yeah...

And you just know that the tickle won't cooperate.

SA

8 comments:

Teri S. said...

Tickles are quite annoying. Good luck with your knitting tomorrow. It seems to me that because the workshop involves collaborative time, there won't be time to knit.

The only time I get to knit at work is when I'm working from home and on a conference call. And those times are very far and few between.

trek said...

Yellow goop!

Oh, wait, sorry, I think HM was whispering in my ear...

Donna Lee said...

Workshops are perfect knitting time. I've gotten whole cuffs done while sitting and listening to trainings on recovery and psychiatric rehabilitation. Not that they are boring.......

Kath said...

I am just evil enough that when someone starts coughing or sneezing uncontrollably around me I get the strongest urge to chirp out cheerfully, "must be teh hamthrax!" 'Course I don't actually DO it, not interested in being strung up, ya know?

Julie said...

Oh those tickles are enough to drive a sane person mad! I had one the other day at the Christmas Tree shop and I could just see everyone's death stares. It was very uncomfortable. But, it did make people get out of my way in an otherwise very crowded store :-)

kmkat said...

Hate the Tickle. Got one t'other day when dealing with customer service (in Brazil, no less -- think THEY ever get the tickle?).

Happy days off!

knitseashore said...

Church. I once had a tickle that turned into the Death Cough in church. Tried to run inconspicuously out of there before I caused too much of a scene!

Hope your workshop today is better!

catsmum said...

One of my personal paranoias is having The Tickle appear when I'm seated far from the aisle at something symphonic, or worse, at the opera... and the more you try to hold it in, the worse it gets and you nearly choke to death yourself from trying not to cough during Mimi's death scene.
I try to time the coughing to coincide with explosive bursts of clapping