Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose your neighbours?

6 a.m.. The early morning sun creeping into the windows, lighting up the world. Oh, the sounds of the dawn of a new day: the birds  are chirping and my neighbour is hacking up his  lung. Every morning I awake to the sound of a man coughing like a car engine struggling to turn over as he smokes his morning cigarettes in his garage before leaving for work.

Neighbours. We all have them. Even if you live in a desolate wooded area, you still have them. They may just live a little farther away. Or they may not be human neighbours. They may be bears, or deer or raccoons or some other kind of critters.

I’ve had many neighbours over the years. In the grand scheme of things, the neighbours I have in the city aren’t so bad. They may get a little rowdy on a Friday night, and cough loudly in the morning, but they are kind enough to bring my grandfather his supper every evening.

Some of the worst neighbours I’ve had were in apartments. Living in a small town, it’s rare to find an actual apartment complex. The best you can do are big old houses that have been divided into smaller units. These are the worst. There is no sound-proofing between units. You can hear everything: pleasurable howls of lovers in the mid-afternoon, the thundering thuds of a large, older lady who walks on the floor above, Muslim chants at 2 in the morning praising Allah, the clanging of empty, recyclable bottles on early Monday mornings. Their schedule becomes your schedule.

Sometimes it’s better to hear your neighbours though than to see them. The most disturbing image I have that I wish I could unsee is of a neighbour in his yard in the early morning hours wearing nothing but his under-shorts while doing yard work. He was a skinny, scrawny man, balding and pallid.

The worst part about neighbours, though, is that you can’t choose them. They choose where to live or somebody else chooses them for you. Right now one of my neighbours is a crazed lunatic with orange skin and a dead animal toupée/hat. As a Canadian, I had no say in the election of President Donald Trump.
Trump, as president? Who saw that coming? Who would ever have thought that a joke made on the Simpsons in the 90s would ever come to fruition. Now whenever I see hyperbole being used on adult cartoons like the Simpsons and Family Guy, I’m going to get a sickish feeling in my gut. What if that really happens?

The sounds and sights of the Trump presidency

When Trump was first elected, I felt the most fearful that I’ve ever felt. I remember in high school, I used to lay awake at night, worrying about the end of the world. That November morning when I awoke to the news that Trump had been elected, I thought “here it is.” I remember during the Bush Junior years, always being pissed off by the stupidity of Americans, but Bush is a moderate compared to Trump. I would give my left breast to have the Bush years back again. Yes, the years immediately following September 11th seem like a simpler, kinder, gentler time.

Do you remember the coverage of the first 100 days? Almost daily some new policy was being implemented such as the Muslim country immigrant ban or news broke of another scandal. Bets were actually being waged in Las Vegas on how long it would be before Trump was impeached. So now we’re not just betting on sports’ outcomes, now we’re placing bets on the presidency of the United States? It was swift and cunning how quickly Trump was able to take one of most respected and revered positions of leadership in the world and turn it into a joke.

But it’s not a funny joke. Yes, we can laugh at Trump, and I enjoy the Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketches and late-night fodder as much as the next person. However, when you really think about it- it’s not funny at all. A megalomaniac has taken up the office of president of the United States. Orange-man has his finger on the button every day. The Blue Man group would be more qualified for the job. At least they’d be more pleasant to look at.

We are approaching the one-year mark of Trump’s presidency in November. I imagine all the major U.S. television news networks will be doing “breaking news” reports on “Trump: the first year” or CNN will call it “breaking news” for sure. Apparently, stories that broke two years ago are still breaking news to CNN. What I’m noticing after almost a year of this nonsense is that I am no longer glued to the News Networks every day like I was. In fact, I am in hiding from the News. I didn’t even know Trump looked directly at the Eclipse until somebody else told me. I think it was around March that I got exhausted of the whole thing. It’s either you watch the news about Trump’s antics and live in a state of incessant agitation, or you isolate yourself from the news and social media in order to maintain your sanity.

The good news I have to report about my neighbour, president Donald Trump, is if I can’t hear him or see him, I don’t think about him. Then I just live my life in the most stress-free way possible. I know many people who write blogs are on social media a lot of the time.  Lucky for me, as a teacher, I’m lucky if I have time to squeeze in writing, let alone to be checking social media sites all the time. So it’s easy for me to bury my head in the sand. The best stress reliever in the world is to turn off from all forms of the media. I wish I could just as easily turn off the coughing hack of my city neighbours. I guess you just can’t have it all.