Anna’s Vashon Yearly Rundown 2021

a word cloud made from our posts

We got a new president, most of us got vaccinated, the Unincorporated King County fireworks ban came into effect,  and Bernie wore mittens. 

Someone get this man a hat.

And since we were still social distancing, we spent a lot of time online. Much of that time we spent rehashing common themes. Our biggest one was driving. 

We had 40 posts on Vashonites Rant about bad drivers. 

And that doesn’t take into account all the times we’ve talked about how pedestrians need to wear bright colors, bikers shouldn’t ride abreast, how we hate (or love) the new speed limits, all the abandoned cars, and the general reminders to use our blinkers.

It also doesn’t include the Tahlequah honker or the cars that pull up to you when you are the only other car at the waterfront. (That’s like sitting next to the only other person in a movie theater. So weird!)

And it also doesn’t cover all the times we’ve talked about bright headlights. I have trouble driving at night because the headlights of oncoming cars are like neutron stars. I vote we stop using headlights all together and start navigating by echolocation. Cars have horns for a reason. 

An islander got so fed up with bad drivers that they even included the following diagram. Note, don’t do any of the things marked with red Xs.

Do not, under any circumstances, be a turtle.

Going through old posts reminded me of the time I parked so badly at Lisabeula that someone left a note on my car telling me that my parking wasn’t cool. I’ve got some bad news. Absolutely everything about me is uncool. My parking is just the start. 

And speaking of Lisabeula, remember when the port-o-potties there were graffitied and we had a moral panic about how terrible parenting has become that children were allowed to just wander off and deface beautiful public infrastructure? 

Would you do this to the Mona Lisa?

Those were good times. 

Another good memory was pizza-delivery-gate. Should it take 2 hours to deliver a pizza? It took us a solid 2 days to thoroughly discuss the issue. 

A post from September that is still getting comments four months later was a facetious post by an islander saying that she was a food service worker who felt it was her choice whether she should wash her hands or not. Obviously this was an analogy for mask-wearing and vaccination. But wait, some of us took it seriously and demanded to know where she worked so we could avoid it, or, in some disturbing cases, so we could applaud her open-mindedness and eat food served by her soiled, probiotic hands.

We have a lot of complaints about the things that make Vashon less beautiful, namely, trash left by the side of the road. It’s still trash even if you leave a sign on it that says, “free.” 

Bagging the dog poo is half the battle. The other half is carrying a bag of hot poo around with you for the rest of your walk.

Many people are living on the knife’s edge in this economy, and we had a lot of issues trying to find affordable rentals, especially ones that allow pets. We argued at length about the merits of AirBnBs, which take units away from the rental market and drive up rents, and we laughed at an unfinished house selling for 750k. We also got irritated when people would post jobs without listing the pay, which seems pretty fundamental. But then some people got mad at other people for asking about pay, and then people got mad at them for being so dense as to not see the value of knowing how much a job pays.

This is one illustration of the ways in which we got mad at each other this year. We especially got mad when we felt people were getting mad for the wrong reason. It’s fun to police other people’s emotions. It’s quite the sport.

Hey, remember the Burton detour? For a whole month over the summer, we had to drive the long way around Burton. We all kept forgetting about it then missing our boats. 

But that was a simpler time when the boats were reliably running, and you could always catch the next one. 

Since then, the South End ferry has gone out of service loads of times, and the North End ferry has been on a 2-boat schedule.

Then there was this post that I do not understand, which was the most commented-on post of the year in the rants group. It came with the accompanying picture. 

“My wife knows you’re an old privilege white man, not a child, so if she chooses to go the speed limit you should probably mansplian less and walk faster. If you had a problem with me shouting fuck you out my window maybe treat women better.” (sic)

We read it as: “Support Liberals”

The original poster clarified it’s supposed to be “liberals are cowards.” It was his first time making a sign, and he forgot about the whole reading left-to-right thing. 

Even so, I don’t see what that has to do with yelling obscenities at a stranger. 

As it turns out the hashtag on the sign is a reference to a runner who was suspended from the Olympics for cannabis use. As much as I think the original poster may have some flaws in his logic, I definitely agree that athletes should be allowed to smoke weed. It’s not a performance enhancer, unless your olympic sport involves running for a few feet, getting winded, and then sitting down to study your shoelaces intently.

 This is, incidentally, the only sport I would ever consider participating in. 

And that was all just Vashonites Rant. 

On the main Vashonites main page, we were much more encouraging. We introduced ourselves to new arrivals and shared our experiences with the paranormal. 

We have ghost stories from all over the island, meetings with cryptids, and alien visitations. We have blue orbs that roll in front of our cars, then turn into ghostly little girls who walk into the forest and disappear. 

There’s the vortex that steals spoons and gloves, and there’s the strange noise at night that is probably airplanes but I choose to believe is a mystic phenomenon, or, at the very least, a singing fish. 

And then there’s the garage door that opens whenever the military runs drills. 

We reunited many lost animals with their owners, including two (unrelated) cows, a horse, a wallaby, a flock of peacocks, and so many dogs. Unfortunately, no one found Hunter the cat. 

Though there was one horse we were told not to assist. 

We  sold so much of our old furniture. There were 29 posts with mattresses for sale. I bought every single one of them, and now I effectively live in a bouncy house. 

In 2021, yearly events that hadn’t happened last year took place. We celebrated the Strawberry festival, and Penny the Goat was anointed as unofficial mayor. And Halloween was back! One islander celebrated by wearing a stackable washer dryer costume. I really hope they headed off island for an afterparty and had to explain their costume to people who aren’t on the local FB groups.

We had some intellectual debates, disputing if it’s appropriate to use an American flag as a tablecloth and picking apart how to spell and pronounce overtown.  We even appeared on Jeopardy, causing us to discuss at length whether they stressed the proper syllable when saying Vashon. 

I’m sorry Alex, but “accessible by ferry” is an overstatement.

Here’s hoping 2022 is better than 2021. May we come together to defeat the pandemic with testing, vaccination, wearing our masks over both our mouths and our noses, and maybe, if we’re really lucky, government policy that serves the interest of people over profit. 

Or, at the very least, may another big boat get stuck in the Suez Canal. 

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.

1 thought on “Anna’s Vashon Yearly Rundown 2021”

  1. Thank you Anna. I looked forward to your posts, and have enjoyed the range from amusement to giggles to downright guffaws every week. This one took the cake!

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