Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Horrible Coughing Man. I use a service called Back Up My Tweets to… well, to do just that. Tonight I logged in to work out when I'd tweeted about my Ryan Gosling Dream (it was the morning of 12 September: "Last night I dreamed I was hanging out with Ryan Gosling in McDonald's. He was really nice & normal. We were talking about our Book Deals") and it occurred to me to look up all my references to the Horrible Coughing Man.

This guy lives down the street from me and there's something NQR about him that I can't quite pin down, but I bet you would pick up on it if you saw him. He is relatively young and has fleshy, slack, wet, pink lips, a little like the Guy Who Never Closed His Mouth, and always wears faded tracksuit pants whose gathered ankles are a little too short.

I think he has OCD because I have walked behind him and watched him do weird things such as tapping particular fences and poles as he goes past. Perhaps another compulsive behaviour of his is the trademark cough… but then I have also witnessed him purchasing jumbo packs of cigarettes at Safeway.

This is a very mean speculation, but I wonder if the house he lives in is some kind of assisted living place, as another oddball lives there too – a guy in owlish, non-ironic child predator glasses who's always awkwardly hanging out the front, smoking and wearing headphones, like the younger brother from There's Something About Mary. But maybe I'm wrong and it's just an eccentric all-male share house like in The Young Ones.

The first time I noticed his Horrible Cough was a morning when I happened to be walking behind him on my way to work, and it turned out that we both went to the same tram stop and got on the same tram. I'd noticed that he was coughing and thought – as a reasonable person might! – that he had a cold.

But then on the tram he just kept coughing in a very deliberate, regular way that didn't seem driven by a spasm of any sort, and I found it completely revolting. EUGGH-huh! EUGGH-huh!

He tends to walk past my house at 8am, and I can hear him coming because he's wracked by horrible coughs that echo down the street. I wish I were a better, kinder, more patient and sympathetic person, but the coughing is so loud and visceral, and being a freelancer who works from home I am sometimes still in bed – with my head only a couple of metres away from the footpath outside – when it happens, so it just inspires revulsion, and sometimes paranoia that stopping outside my house to cough is part of his OCD ritual.

Obviously I don't comment on his every approach, but since it bothers me, I have tweeted about him many times. Here they are. Twitter is a constantly flowing stream and it's unusual to view it as an archive, so it's embarrassing to see how often I have repeated myself.

8 June, 2009: "Ugh, that horrible coughing man just walked past my house."

21 July, 2009: "Ugh, that horrible coughing man just walked past my house again. In other news, story still not done after all-nighter. Utterly destroyed."

4 August, 2009: "Oh god, the awful coughing man is in my street again! He's getting closer!"

11 August, 2009: "The Horrible Coughing Man approaches! (Earlier than usual, today.)"

26 August, 2009: "Ugh the Awful Coughing Man approaches!"

16 November, 2009: "Honestly, the Horrible Coughing Man needs to get his cough seen to. Hearing him hacking down my street is a revolting way to start the day."

1 February, 2010: "Oh gawd, the Horrible Coughing Man sounds like he's going to barf up a lung outside my house."

4 February, 2010: "If I find the Horrible Coughing Man this revolting simply walking past my house, imagine his poor family or co-workers."

15 February, 2010: "Oh god, the Horrible Coughing Man is currently menacing my street just as I plan to duck out for lunch! This isn't his usual timetable!"

28 March, 2010: "Today it was as if the Horrible Coughing Man actually paused outside my house to barf up a lung."

5 April, 2010: "Just saw the Horrible Coughing Man in the supermarket... buying 4 packets of Horizon cigarettes."

13 October, 2010: "The horror! Due to lateness I find myself at tram stop with the Horrible Coughing Man"

15 October, 2010: "Even the rain hasn't deterred the Horrible Coughing Man, who's currently hacking his way down my street."

23 January, 2011: "The Horrible Coughing Man just paused outside my house to hack up a lung. In my more paranoid moments I worry he does this deliberately."

27 March, 2011: "Oh goooood the Awful Coughing Man approaches, sounding even more consumptive than usual."

17 October, 2011: "The Horrible Coughing Man just paused for an epic bout of revolting death-rattling outside my house. I swear he does this deliberately."

You make me laugh! He probably *is* in assisted living of some sort.
The Guy Who Never Closed His Mouth is a rather telling characteristic for a chap who turns out to be a poet! I say this as someone with similar poetic tendencies too, though I'm pretty sure my mouth is closed with ordinary frequency.

I get fixated on these tendencies too; eccentrics of this sort get on public transport a lot...
Oh Mel, I know this guy! He's a regular at work. Every time he sees me we have this conversation.
Coughing Man: I know you! You was born in Melbourne, Australia.
Me: That's right.
CM: You're from Melbourne, Australia.
Me:That's me.
Then we talk about an item of my clothing, or my tattoo. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter