Ottawa residents claim they suffer from ‘phantom honking’ despite trucks being long gone. No, really.

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Now that the trucks have been removed from downtown Ottawa, some residents are left with “mild trauma” from the weeks-long noisy protest in the Canadian capital city.

“Literally there was trucks right underneath me,” said Kevin, who declined to provide CBC his last name in fear of retaliation.  “It was one thing for me, but I’ve got animals. I’ve got three cats, two dogs. So yeah, it was torture.”

The “torture” has prompted a 21-year-old living in the area to launch a class-action lawsuit against the truckers whose plaintiffs include residents, businesses and workers and now seeks damages of over $300 million.

But “phantom honking” still haunts some of the downtown residents even though the trucks are gone and the truck horns are just a figment of their imagination.

And if you are wondering if this story is satire – it is not. Sean Flynn who lives three kilometers from downtown explained he is still plagued by the elusive noise.

“When you hear that noise, it’s like, ‘Oh, are they back? Is there a road convoy coming back, right'” Flynn said. “‘I felt I was constantly doing these sort of double takes … it almost feels a bit re-traumatizing.”

One person on social media contrasted the trauma the Ottawa residents felt for a couple of weeks with the ridicule and torment the protesters have been subjected to for the last nearly two years.

Zakir Virani also lays awake at night in his downtown residence due to the imaginary honking.

“It’s hard to explain because I think with any post-traumatic stress-induced thinking, it’s not very rational. You’re not actually hearing honking,” Virani said, nothing that he feels “constant on-edgeness” and “fear” anytime he goes out his front door since the loud protests.

“It’s not good for anyone to feel that way,” he added.

A clinical psychologist from Ottawa said those hearing the fictional noises are dealing with a “mild trauma.”

“These sounds become sort of embedded in mind, kind of like the way trauma leads to flashbacks,” said Dr. Peter Liu. “Even long after this has happened, the brain is still in a hyper-vigilant state and expects more honking.”

“It is temporary and it will always fade with time,” Liu said, and suggested those afflicted change up their sleep habits to help break the cycle by changing locations or putting on music.


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