Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 10/15/2023

We start with a post that says, “Dear Parents who take their kids to see Oscar, the Bird King.

Contrary to what you might have heard, our Vashon Troll, Oscar the Bird King is not to be climbed on….….”

They include this image, presumably to shame the child in the picture, who we will now blame for our group admonishment. 

I learn from the comments that all truly great art gets climbed on. One person says, “In my experience people will always interact with large scale art in unexpected ways , when we did the caterpillar, I had to dig a kid out of the rotation mechanism at 3 am , full boar jaws of life shit, neither I or the firefighters or the build crew could figure out how they got in there , yet they did !!”

We then talk about what appropriate interaction with the Bird King looks like. We have this comment, “Bruun Idun in Lincoln Park, West Seattle, has been adorned with jewelry and dried flowers by visitors. Interactive and appropriate. Harmless and signs of adoration. Have children bring handmade bracelets and the like!”

First, how did they get the necklaces on her without climbing? Second, maybe we could make cool ankle bracelets for the Bird King? Or toe rings? Or we could play a game where we toss garlands and try to get them onto that outstretched finger of his. 

One person points out the allure of climbing him: “I’m an adult (depending who you ask), I know I shouldn’t, but I really want to climb up and sit in his lap. He’s a very inviting sort of fella. 💖” I don’t know what you’re into, but a dude hunched over with a grumpy face pointing accusingly at me is about the least inviting thing I could imagine. But maybe the commenter is like a cat who always seeks out the person who wants their attention the least and starts purring and rubbing their head against their ankles.

A sign is coming to tell people not to climb Oscar, which I’m sure will enhance the natural beauty of the place. Also, once the sign goes up, you won’t be able to feign ignorance of the rule. As one islander says, “I better get there quick!” 

Besides an infestation of unruly children, we also have the dreaded stinkbugs. One islander posts: 

By the tenor of the comments, it sounds like we are being overrun, and must either stand our ground or flee to the hills. One islander says, “I woke up this morning with one on the pillow next to mine… (not a fan!).”

Another says, “ Why do they have to be so in your face? Had two last night land on my pillow and I swear one made a noise at me. Why are they attracted to me?”

Okay, it sounds like they aren’t trying to hurt us. They like us! They want our company! They’re even telling us bedtime stories. 

We try to fight them with our mightiest weapons, dish soap and dogs, but the stinkbugs outmaneuver us . One brave soldier reports, “Today my border collie learned that stinkbugs are terrible snacks. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her forcibly eject something from her mouth. This is the dog that LOVES rotten beach snacks….”

We get this image of a Daddy Long Legs eating a stink bug. So if you want to get rid of them, just add more Daddy Long Legs to your home. Bonus, they double as Halloween decorations. 

Others give a foreboding warning of what will happen. “Just wait until you’ve accidentally sucked one up in the vacuum”

Some people  collect the bugs one by one. We have this method: “I have used a small bowl of Dawn dish soap and water…plop them in when you find them. End of the day flush. “

Another islander is keeping score. “I flush them. Yesterday’s count was 23. Disgusting!”

Looks like we will soon have an infestation of mutated sewer stink bugs. 

Much of the island suffered a power outage this week, and from great adversity comes great creativity. We have the following proposal: 

Of course some killjoys are going to get in the comments and say why it’s impossible, because how dare one have fantasies that don’t follow the strict rules of market economics? 

The original poster points out that this is, in fact, feasible. “A food truck would need a regular business to pay the basics, using the power-outage market as more of a side gig to pay for extras.”

Think of the food trucks that go to the Saturday market and are outside all sorts of Vashon events. So this would be a food truck similar to those most of the time. At first I thought it was pie-in-the-sky dreaming, but now I’m getting on board. It could even have a little jingle like the ice cream truck so you know that it’s in your neighborhood. 

My favorite is this comment, which claims it would never work, then lays out a viable business strategy that, were I a banker, I would issue a business loan for. 

Now I’m imagining my life as a food truck vendor, getting up early to brew the coffee, warming my hands over the propane stove, and driving around various neighborhoods, waking people up with my jingle. I’d hang out at the Tahlequah ferry dock when there were two hour delays. I’d warm everyone’s hearts and get to know each neighborhood, which would then provide perfect cover for my illicit mail-theft operation. Wait, I just realized I hate reading my own mail, and wouldn’t want to read any of your mail either. No offense. Also I hate waking up early. Okay, maybe I’m not well-suited for the job. 

For real, expecting to catch a ferry and then waiting two additional hours and not having any food in your car is a real problem. We have a post about what people do in that situation. 

Can I get an eight ounce mocha with my order? 
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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