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I feel like a bit of a snob writing this. I mean, I spell theatre with an “re”. Going to the theatre is a treat, something special to be enjoyed. I look forward to every time I get to sit in the audience and see someone put themselves out there to entertain us and improve our lives. The last few times I’ve attended shows, certain things have been happening more frequently. First I thought it was a one time thing. Okay. Then it kept happening and with greater panache.

I know it’s flu and cold season again because Mother Earth is manic and can’t decide what season to settle us in. When you’re not feeling 100%, I’m all for sucking it up and going forward. But if you know you’re sick, buy these things called cough drops and eat them like they’re candy and healthy for you. There are also sprays that shut you up. Wheel in your IV filled with cough syrup. I would rather see the stage through your draining bag than hear you hack throughout the performance.

Because if you thought yawns were contagious, be on the look out for coughs. At one point, I thought the right side of the audience was trying to cough harder and louder than the left and the left wasn’t going down without a fight. After the first few rounds ended in a draw, they’d pop up like bubbles in a soda–everywhere. At least time your coughs with the music. Either suffocate yourself, writhe in agony as you hold in that dusty tickle at the back of your throat until between movements or any interval. Time it to accent the music, like a cow bell or the canons like the 1812 Overture.

I missed some of The Vermeer’s last performance because I had to cough. I had seen them ever since I was a little girl. I went with my grandparents, my parents, and I was ready to close the book with them. Half way through, I felt it. This tickle climbing up my throat fast like it was an adventurer trying to escape a fire shooting up from my diaphragm. It was going to be loud, proud, and call a halt to the music so I took off up the aisle (also rude, but considering the alternative to being “that girl”…). I just made it to the lobby before I hacked. Soon as the doors shut and my lungs tried to expel from my body, the music started. I hung out in the vacant lobby during that piece, barely hearing through the door. When there was applause, I snuck back in.

Point is, I don’t mind you attending under the weather. Infect us all. Just take precautions–if you know you’re going to be coughing, do something about it.

Have you either been the cougher or experienced coughers at the theatre? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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