Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 01/07/2023

It’s a new year, which means change is upon us. And what new gripes will this year bring? Here’s out first one. 

“Sotheby’s. Really. Please tell me how this could possibly be a good thing.”

If you’re wondering what Sotheby’s is, they’re a high-end real estate agency that focuses on selling multi-million dollar homes. They’re displacing the Origami Shop, whose lease was not renewed. 

This relates to something we often talk about: how the lack of affordable housing pushes lower-income workers off the island, so it’s hard to staff restaurants, stores, and if housing prices keep rising, post offices and ferries. And then, the schools will lose children as families leave, and schools will be defunded. We’ll lose teachers, and then it will be a wasteland of rich people standing confused in the street, waiting for an Apple store to manifest behind the windows of shuttered restaurants.

We have this proposal, “ I think it would be hilarious to “distress” houses to decrease curb appeal.”

Yes. I am doing quadruple duty to bring down property values with my boisterous, nocturnal dog, my lawn which has become a mud pit due to chickens, the decaying piles of building materials that I will get around to using to bolster the chicken coop, which is held together with twist ties.

We also talk about how to make Vashon denser, as in, how can we fit more people in the same space? Build up? Add mother-in-law cottages to large properties? 

What if Vashon got a theme around which to develop? Leavenworth has a German Village theme. What could our theme be? It would have to be tacky enough to keep rich people away simultaneously but fun enough to bring in tourists. 

We could do a mini Egypt with pyramids and Sphinxes, which could double as housing. Maybe a Lego theme where you build your own housing? Legoland already exists, so we’d have to use Duplo to avoid copyright infringement. What about a pirate theme? We already have the flags. Now we just need to hang boat steering wheels in every shop and wear eyepatches around town. I think we’d all look fetching in stripes. 

Or maybe a clown theme? 

An islander proposes the buildings in the following image, which will handle floods well but maybe not earthquakes. 

Some worry that greater density would change the quirky charm of Vashon, but Vashon is kind of a mixed bag of random buildings. Like, here’s a brick building with ivy, an art deco movie theater, and a gas station. I vote that every building has to be made after a different architectural style, and I’m looking forward to seeing Rococo banks and a Falling Water grocery store. 

And we learn in this thread about Southeby’s that we were mentioned at the New York New Year’s Eve ball drop freeze-your-ass-off thing in Times Square this year. It was hosted by comedians who had to fill hours of air time, and at one point they just started talking about Vashon, which Is MY THING and they are STEALING MY BIT! 

Anyway, the whole point of them bringing up Vashon was to say that their experience here caused them to resolve to always order a pizza before they go out. I have no idea why Vashon inspired this monumental change in someone’s life, but I think we can all be proud of helping someone strive to be a better person. 

My New year’s resolution is never to touch abandoned gloves I find in the woods. 

An islander found these deeply disturbing gloves and left them for someone else to find, much like how one has to share the video from the Ring in order to pass the curse on to someone else. 

And speaking of mystical and possiobly demoinc entities, we discuss Mary Poppins. 

One person posts, “I’m pretty sure Mary Poppins was paid.”

This is in reference to a post on Vashonties by someone looking for a caring grandmotherly person to pick their kid up from school, play games with them, ‘impart manners’ and be ‘young at heart.’ They don’t say that they aren’t planning to pay, so maybe they are, I don’t know. 

But it brings up a discussion. When you live far from extended family, life can be lonely, and caring for children difficult. People want to be part of communities, but those communities don’t always spring up organically. Some say you can only expect childcare from people who you either already have a relationship with, or whom you pay. Another islander said, “Seeking community and being community are legitimate needs”

But finding a random grandparent on Facebook opens you up for danger. I mean, you’re basically saying, ‘are you lonely and on the internet all the time? Come play with my kids!” 

And as one islander points out, you would never ask a plumber to come fix your sink for free because they love sinks and are young at heart. 

We then solve society’s problems by proposing the creation of organizations that match seniors and kids to form friendships in a safe, background-checked environment. This is a superb idea that one of you should really implement. 

Such a system would bring joy to children and seniors, and avoid a potentially devastating situation. As one commenter notes about Mary Poppins, “If she wasn’t paid there was gonna be a whole mess of penguins left in somebodies house…”

And no one has time to cook dinner for their children and clean up after penguins. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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