The cough trigger is a welcome social phenomenon, often found in places where it’s unacceptable to be loud and disruptive, such as churches, exam halls and Finnish buses. Finnish buses are QUIET. You don’t talk on the bus. As a friend put it, you are in transit. Talk on your own time, biatches.
Noise is unwelcome. And you need to cough. Since it’s spring, you probably have hayfever or flu, but this cough is probably just the result of what I think of as noise Tourette’s. You’re in a situation where you shouldn’t make a noise. So you have to. Anyway, coughing would pierce the deathly silence that has ascended on the church or bus number 43. But there’s no choice, because your throat itches and if you don’t cough yourself you’re going to end up spluttering involuntarily and possibly choking on your own spit which invariably makes you look and feel like an idiot.
So you start trying to do throat yoga, a series of small, inconceivable throat-clearing ahems when- hallelujah!
Random woman 4 rows back coughs first! Her weak and puny lungs gave in waaaay before yours, and before your can get your own cough out, 3 other people cough like they’ve been holding it in for at least as long as you have. It is now okay to cough! Thank you, puny-lunged stranger!