It’s the time of year when writers get nostalgic and make lists of all the funny and inspiring things that happened over the year, aka when they chug eggnog while summarizing things they’ve already written rather than researching something new. And I am not above doing that. We’re going to spend the following few hundred words reminiscing on all the lost wallabies, all the mattresses left on the side of the road, and all the weird vans
I went back through a year’s worth of posts, and despite incurring psychic damage from exposing myself to that much social media, I have found some patterns.
How have we spent our precious hours on the universe’s sole known inhabitable planet?
Posting. We posted items for sale; we posted items of which we were in search; we posted complaints about the mail. So many complaints about the mail.
We often use social media as a way to process our thoughts. So, what happened in the world that we reacted to?
The year started strong with mudslides near the ferry dock and the Chetzemoka getting stabbed.
We’ve had tens of lost animals. I’ve collected them all, and now I live in a barn overflowing with cats and cows. I am providing them with colorful collars so no one will run them over.
We’ve complained about the things that bother us to our core, which proves we have failed as a society to truly care for each other. Yes, we are referring to the abomination that is wind chimes. They screech in the otherwise silent air, scaring away birds competing with plane noise to torment our neighbors.
We’ve also complained about kids screaming when they play, a sound that, to an unfamiliar grownup, is as grating and terrifying as a windchime.
How else have our co-islanders bothered us with the inconvenience of their existence? By blocking the aisle at Thriftway and the parking lot at the post office, by whistling at Granny’s, and in general, existing in public in human form, taking up space.
And it’s not just people who bug us. We hate it when dogs are off-leash. Look at them, running free in the park, playing, wagging their tails, enjoying the myriad smells beyond human comprehension. We HATE those guys.
We’ve also fought about whether cats should always be indoors or always outdoors. There is no middle ground. Either your cat lives outside in the cold dark of night fighting coyotes, or your cat sits on the windowsill eighteen hours a day, forlorn and lonely.
We learned about Juno, the legless rooster who ran for America’s Favorite pet. I checked to find out if he won. I regret to report that, no, he did not. A dog named Willow and a cat named Tom won. Why? They have the expected number of legs and totally ordinary names. Neither of them is named after the Goddess of Marriage, for whom the month of June is named. There’s no month named Tom. I can understand when a dog with a generic name becomes mayor, like our beloved Buddy, but America’s favorite pet should have a little more pizzazz.
The good news is that there was an animal this year with a good amount of pizzazz. An owl named Cedric attacked multiple joggers in Dockton Forest. Some people suspect that joggers’ ponytails, which sway when they run, activated Cedric’s hunting instinct.
We argued about coyotes. Are they invasive? Were they brought to the island in secret, undercover Fish and Wildlife conspiracy? Or do they predate humans on Vashon, making us the invasive species? Also, every time a coyote howls, an angel logs on to warn you to put your cat indoors. Then a devil’s advocate logs on to tell you to allow your cat to stay outdoors. Then the angel logs back on and loses their wings.
But we really do love animals here. We love them so much that we want to rehome a family of rats we find on our property. Rats are invasive, dirty, and gross, but we can’t bring ourselves to kill them. Could we maybe just dump them somewhere and make them someone else’s problem?
We recount our favorite deer, from the one-antlered unicorn on the North End to the mama deer who gave birth on my lawn. Then there was the dead fawn that some of you got together to bury. To this day, I’ll be washing the dishes, minding my own business, when I remember that one of you buried the deer along with a dog toy because you didn’t know what else to do for them, and I’ll get all teary, and my tears will drip onto the crusted egg on my dishes.
We’ve seen a lot of vital public services decline this year. First to go was the ferry system. The Cathlamet went out of service after crashing into a dolphin at the Fauntleroy dock, making the sticker challenge that much harder.
We’ve been down to two ferries, sometimes only one, on the North End. The Chetzemoka will occasionally miss a number of runs due to crew shortages or mechanical issues. A few times, there was only one boat serving the entirety of the island. Perhaps we’ll lose all our boats and disappear like Brigadoon. My favorite commenter is the guy who responds to every post about the ferries with the phrase, “a bridge would solve this.” He is single-handedly responsible for raising humorless islanders’ blood pressure.
The other vital service that’s failing is the mail. We’ve got the tripledemic of mail thieves, an understaffed and overworked post office, and the USPS’s contract with Amazon that forces our mail carriers to deliver Amazon packages to island residents seven days a week. I wrote about it extensively in my 08-26-2022 Weekly Rundown.
Symbolically, or perhaps in solidarity, the barge collapsed.
We’ve been sentimental this year, especially when it pertains to the Portage Store. That old store has become a vessel for our hopes and dreams. It represents all the things we want to bring to this island and the past glories we took for granted that we miss.
We have this debate that pendulums back and forth between sentimentality for the old times and our dreams for a new and unique future for Vashon. This debate often takes the form of asking what restaurant we would like the island to have.
Here’s a flashback to a graph I made in Python of our many answers.
We talk a lot about old-timers versus newbies. What is the true spirit of Vashon? Recently someone asked which Vashon we should hate. We discuss who belongs on Vashon. Does being a true islander, rather than an interloper, require the right intentions, the right attitude, the right history?
A recent post brings up this issue. An islander says, “Several recent posts on Vashon-based Facebook pages have me confused. Are we supposed to hate “old Vashon”? Or are we supposed to hate new Vashon?”
As a curmudgeon, I believe you can hate all things in equal measure.
Some of us are sentimental for times when we were upset about different things. One islander says, “Remember in the 80s when Californians moving here was the problem?”
We argue about language. Some people hate when Northwesterners use ‘y’all.’ Others hate when people use an apostrophe then s to make plural’s, and we discuss why Cemetery Road has multiple spelling’s. My favorite thing in the world is language. I love to talk about it, to think about it, to learn how it changes over time, and to watch as new words emerge and old pronunciation’s disappeared. So my resolution for you all for the new year is to make more posts about language. Ok, I’ll stop with the poorly placed apostrophes now, knowing how it probably causes some of your physical pain.
This year we’ve had two separate incidents of people defecating on other people’s property. We also had the Accordion Guy endlessly serenade us with the same two songs outside Thriftway and learned that there’s a network of fake buskers doing the heroic and necessary work of lowering our property values. Accordion Guy, I salute you.
Multiple people struggle to understand the meaning of this sign, which has been posted at least twice. Like a Rorschach picture, what you see reveals your deep psychic wounds.
A new development this year was the advent of anonymous group posting. You can rant anonymously, but you cannot comment anonymously. We got into a lot of discussions about whether this was a positive development or a sign of our further slide into societal decline.
Clearly, the only way to solve this endless and repetitive argument is to build a bridge.