Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 11/04/2022

Welcome to our 100th column! It’s our centennial blog post! This is assuming my counting is correct, which it might not be. It’s been years since I was in kindergarten, and I haven’t been re-certified in counting to 100 in quite some time.

Since I’ve written this blog 100 times now, I feel I can get away with writing about pretty much anything. So before getting into our Facebook drama, I’m going to talk about Halloween. 

At one of the haunted houses, I stopped to take a picture of an angel with glowing eyes when the clown whose sole job was supposed to be scaring children popped out and kept saying, “selfie? Selfie?” until I took a picture with him. 

I’m the one on the left.

The scariest part of Halloween is seeing the stark difference between how good you think you look and what you actually look like.  

This picture made me realize that Halloween is a great way to discover that you look absolutely terrible with bangs safely.

I was dressed as a Team Rocket member, the bad guys in Pokemon. They wear a white shirt with a florid red R on it. Someone commented that they liked my Rainier Beer costume, and I thought that interpretation of it was a lot cooler than what I actually dressed, so I just said “Thank you.” 

I’m not sure why a Rainier Beer bottle would wear a purple wig, but why not? 

The angel who damned me to taking selfies with an evil clown.

Here’s a dog for your viewing pleasure. 

I met these two lovely ladies. I talked to them for 20 minutes about my thoughts on grammatical prescriptivism. They were excellent listeners. 

My husband dressed as wallpaper. This may seem kind of abstract, but he has this lovely hoodie that I once complimented very highly by saying it looked like wallpaper. I had in mind the sort of intricate wallpaper you would find in a Victorian mansion, but I think he had in mind the sort of wallpaper you find underneath seven layers of paint when remodeling the den. 

How did he dress like wallpaper, you ask? You didn’t actually ask that. I did. It was a leading question. Anyway, he has this mask where you can take a picture, and then the mask connects to an app on your phone and lights up to look like that image. So he took a picture of the hoodie and wore the mask and the hoodie together, thus becoming the embodiment of wallpaper. 

He’s the one in the back.

Someone dressed like the bike in the tree, and we’re all mad that he didn’t make the front page of the Beachcomber for it. 

He’s the one on the left. 

No one was dressed as a stackable washer/dryer combo this year, but we do have a post in the rants group that says, “Y’all – I just went down the stackable washer and dryer FB rabbit hole.” (See? I got to the Facebook drama eventually.) 

We respond to this by picking apart the wording of the post. 

One commenter says, “The “Y’all” thing, increasingly coming from native NW people, is quite annoying.”

Another islander adds, “Don’t get me started on East Coast dialect “importAnt” instead of y’alls “imporent”. Indeed “cauluh flower” is pronounced “Caleeflower”. WTF. If the fascists start using “y’all” to imply populist support for right wing “reforms” I promise to bring back “groovy” like it’s 1968.”

I get the appeal of “y’all” because we need a plural ‘you.’ I don’t think Pittsburgh’s “yinz” will catch on, and “yous guys’s” is an awkward way to make the second person plural possessive. “Folks” feels a little stilted. I kind of like ‘you all,’ which is basically the same as y’all without the shibboleth baggage that comes with the term. 

This all leads to a discussion of the variations of American English pronunciation. Someone asks, “what about ‘wooter’ As in, a glass of wooter in Jersey. (Water).” I’m not sure if they are soliciting opinions or marveling at how in English you can just replace any vowel sound with any other, who cares, let’s just start calling it weeter. (Pronounced like sweeter. Though if we pronounced it like sweater, then it would be wetter, which would make sense as a pronunciation of water, what with water being wet.) 

I have no idea why someone would pronounce water any of these ways. We all know water rhymes with quarter. 

With the power flickering and the wind blowing, people are asking what you do to prepare for a potential power outage. Some people are so well prepared- freezing water, filling pails to flush the toilet, charging devices. Some even turn up the heat so that the house will remain warm. I do something similar. I turn on all the lights so that when the power goes out, the house stays brighter longer. 

To prepare for power outages, I pull out a few extra blankets and figure I’ll curl up on the sofa for the duration of the outage, be it an hour or six days. If I get hungry, I can always eat all the stale chips in the half-finished bags collecting in the back of the snack cabinet. 

One islander has this routine: “Gather flashlights, lanterns, candles. Make sure kitchen is clean since washing dishes by candlelight is hard. Make sure there is no clutter or things to trip over when dark. Build fire in fireplace before it gets dark. Boil some water in large pots and then keep warm on wood stove for washing hands or dishes later.”

Wait, you don’t use power outages as an excuse to not do dishes? My attitude is, if there are no dishes then we can’t cook or serve meals, so I guess we’re all eating straight from the can, or, if the can opener is too hard to find in the dark, there’s always some stale chips.

Mostly during power outages I shuffle along the ground to avoid stepping on stray toys or the cat and paw blindly through the hallway closet until I find a flashlight. Then I go searching in all the junk drawers until I find a lighter or matches. After that I rip up a bunch of old Thriftway bags and use them as kindling in my fireplace. Finally I go out to the shed and find a few pieces of wood that haven’t gotten rained on, dust off all the spiders, and throw them in the fireplace. (I throw the wood in the fireplace, not the spiders.)  

One islander says, “I do a lot of what’s mentioned here. I also have an original Gameboy that takes AA batteries, so when an outage happens I can play Tetris.”

Now that’s a prepper after my own heart.

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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