Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 01/27/2023

Someone asks the question, “Why is Vashon so lame?”

We have some theories. “Damn orcas are so lazy. They come by what, every couple months?”

This garners the response, “I hate orcas.” Well, no wonder he thinks this place is lame. If you don’t even like orcas, what could possibly be good enough for you? 

He’s not the only one who isn’t impressed by our underwater brethren. Another islander says, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say hate …. but I couldn’t eat a whole one.”

The original poster makes a list for us of the problems with Vashon, and he has some good points. Here’s the beginning of a long list:

“1) no roasted chestnuts vendor outside the markets during the holiday season2) no affordable Asian food ) Sotheby’s franchise on the main drag and nobody is livid” 4) no laundromat.”

I would definitely rather have roasted chestnuts than a fake accordion player, but not having a jaunty little pushcart nut vendor doesn’t make us boring or pathetic. Honestly, we’d just complain about the smell and how it blocks the sidewalk. But the poster’s right about the laundromat. I have fantasies of packing up all my dirty laundry that’s been collecting in front of the washer, piling it into the car and doing like, eight loads of laundry all at once at a laundromat. But I’m not willing to leave the island to make this fantasy a reality. Does anyone by any chance have eight washing machines and dryers at their house that I could come use? My washer leaks and my dryer is broken, which really puts a damper on my favorite pastime. 

The author talks about something he brings up frequently. (I’ve gotten to know frequent posters, their opinions, their styles, their lives, their social security numbers, etc.) He says some people had parents who worked hard, and their kids are just hanging out, waiting to inherit the house, not being cool. And some newbies are totally cool. He says it’s all about ‘intention.’ I’ve lived on the West Coast long enough now to know that ‘intention’ means we need to manifest the world we want. Imagine a cooler Vashon: more origami shops, fewer real estate brokerages, more chestnuts, and fewer accordion buskers. Now bring it a step closer to reality by posting about it online. 

Luckily we have a post telling us about a new venture in town. “Is Zamfir PayDay Loans, Pawn, and Cigarette store really opening up next door to Sotheby’s Real Estate, or is this an early April Fool?”

Zamfir is a pan flutist who apparently also sidelines as a loan shark. I don’t think this post is serious, but it’s the kind of business we need to manifest in order to be less lame. 

The very definition of coolness

I tried to picture what a pan flute/ cigarette shop would look like, so I googled ‘pan flute made of cigarettes.” Remarkably, in the great vastness of the internet, such a picture doesn’t exist. So I asked an AI image generator to make a picture of a cool person playing a pan flute made of lit cigarettes, and it gave me these: 

This is the future we want for Vashon. But with our luck, they’d just be pretending to smoke. 

We discuss our reactions to aggressive drivers. If you confront them, are you escalating the situation, making yourself half the problem? Would letting them go without confrontation just allow them to get away with bad behavior? When is being confrontational the right thing to do? The answer is, when it creates silly drama that you can share online. Please, flip the bird at people and then post about it. My favorite form of entertainment is stories about problems people caused for themselves by being petty, then doubling down when they started to feel an inkling of guilt. 

But you know what you shouldn’t be petty and obnoxious about? People asking you to wear masks. We are three years into an airborne pandemic, and guess what we’re still arguing about? Mask wearing. Yes, the one thing that most reliably prevents the transmission of Covid, and we can’t agree to just use that simple strategy. 

Here’s the post that inspired this: “Maybe folks are going to be mad at me but please think about wearing a mask while in the Post Office and maybe giving a little distance. Appreciate that! I don’t want to get sick. I have family members very sick.”

Some people say that wearing masks makes you more sick because you’re not exposed to as many germs, and thus your immune system doesn’t learn. This is totally bogus and untrue. As an astute reader points out, Covid affects your immune system so that even a mild infection leaves you compromised. So if you’ve ever gotten covid, you may find yourself getting sick from other diseases more frequently. 

But we will come up with all sorts of ways to make people feel bad for promoting public health. One islander says, “Maybe ask the people who are getting too close at the time to back up?” 

The thing is, the post office is small, the line is long, and there’s only so far people can back up. Not to mention, in an unventilated space, a few extra feet of distance doesn’t make much difference if you’re all hanging out hotboxing in each other’s breath for an hour. I

Imagine being in a room with a guy named Zamfir who’s smoking a pan flute made of cigarettes, but instead of smoke coming out the end, it’s covid. That’s what’s happening every time you go to a crowded space without a mask. You’re the Zamfir. 

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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