On the Couch with Jasminda

Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum?

Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our three News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. This week’s conundrum comes from Soldiers Point. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of [email protected] and include your title, initials and suburb.

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My neighbour’s dog barks incessantly. Port Stephens Council has asked me to keep a diary, but I’ve got better things to do.

Mr PR, Soldiers Point.

Dear PR,

Did the local council give you any diary guidelines? Because being asked to keep a diary sounds like a dream come true.

Now if my literary agent had asked me to keep a diary, I would currently be cashing in on the movie rights.

Picture Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a bit of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest thrown in for good measure.

Instead I’m sweating like a pig in a shabby consulting office replete with 70s lava lamp and bowls of congealed chicken soup (good for the soul, apparently).

Take the diary suggestion as a challenge, PR.

Challenges are what keeps the world going – that and climate change action – but hey, the night is too young to dwell on rising temperatures and dying reefs.

A barking dog calls and we, PR, must answer it.

Now I’m a dog lover, so I’d just go and let the dog out of its yard and bring it into my office so we could assist each other through our days of solitary confinement, alternating between whines and whimpers depending on the day’s events.

But not everyone likes dogs.

I understand that. So there’s an alternative.

I suggest you write about what you see when you go out to investigate the barking dog. Is there a pothole in the road that has been there so long that it’s sprouting leaves? Is the council-maintained verge overgrown?

What about the graffiti on the bus shelter that suggests you partake in unsavoury acts with your mother?

Write it all down, PR, and send the daily instalments to your council, and maybe even to News Of The Area.

I guarantee that dog will be supplied with a council-issued shock collar that’ll make it more placid than Randle “Mac” McMurphy after his lobotomy.

Carpe diem,

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