Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 02/18/2024

We start with this creative  solution to the problem of slow drivers: hunters. Wait, not in the way you’re thinking. We’re not hunting slow drivers. We’re hunting deer so the country can’t use deer as an excuse to lower the speed limit. We have this post: 

The majority of commenters agree. One says,  “The county appears to have their minds made up, and as usual, will pander to the extreme slow-down fringe.” I have to admit something. I’m a radical extremist. I am on the far fringe of speed limit politics. My car kinda shakes a bit when I go above 50, and I’m not sure if it’s my garbage car or my nerves causing the shaking. 

One person makes this point: “Are the people driving too slow down the ferry dock or how are slow drivers on the roads affecting the ferry system? I think WSF screw up just fine all on their own.” I wondered the same thing. How does driving slowly near town have any effect on the boats, which aren’t sitting there waiting around for people?

The anonymous poster answers, “it takes longer to unload the boats.” 

I just don’t think unloading the boats at 50mph makes much sense. 

When someone challenges them with the question: “What does that have to do with the driving on the island??!” people respond, “Just an excuse for them to bitch and call people Karen.”

Someone then points out, “the term “Karen” is just the latest PC way to call a woman a bitch.”

When I go back to the original post, I can really see the hate there. Calling all slow drivers Karens means that they’re all women. And the poster claiming to have a life while other drivers don’t shows a fundamental lack of empathy and understanding. Everyone who is alive has a life, and the poster just values their own experience and comfort over the lives of others. 

Other commenters point out that the laws of physics and rules of ethics may prevent exiting the ferry at fast speeds. For one thing, there are ferry workers directing traffic, and flooring the gas pedal while right behind one may lead to running a person over. Also, one commenter explains how their hybrid car takes longer to speed up while going uphill, especially in cold weather. 

The original poster responds, “the opposite is true. Hybrid and electric cars actually are much, much faster off the line as there’s no delay between the gas pedal being pressed and the electric motor accelerating.” 

Wait, are they seriously upset by the milliseconds lost between the time the foot hits the pedal and the time the gas gets into the engine and makes the car go? Are they trying so hard to defend their idea that driving slowly holds up the boats that they will come up with more and more ludicrous reasons rather than admit that maybe they spoke out of anger and were mistaken about that detail?

Yes they are. The original poster goes on to say that the electric car owner is wrong, and it is in fact their personality, not their car, causing problems. They say, “a large portion of hybrid owners tend to drive timidly, just like a large portion of pickup truck and BMW owners drive like morons.”

Not to be an armchair psychologist, but I think there’s a word for the condition when you see a behavior that bothers you and assume that the behavior must come from a failing of the person’s personality. And what do we call it when you go even further and assume that everyone who shares any surface trait with that person also has the same terrible personality? What’s the word for that condition again? Oh yeah, being an asshole. 

The electric car driver makes the most generous interpretation of the poster’s words and asks if they have ideas for better ways to unload the boat, maybe letting cars off first before delivery vehicles. 

Another commenter is a little less generous. They say, “I hope you get creamed by a speeding pickup truck, since you’re so convinced of your own immortality as well as the “timid” nature of pickup drivers. I can promise you it will hurt. A lot. Pickup trucks are extremely heavy, and they don’t accelerate, brake, or corner fast.”

Another person says to the poster, “so apparently you must be that Tesla driver everyone complains about…explains a lot.”

Others say the problem is not the speed limit, but people’s expectations. One person says, “One issue is that the main road is called a highway, which it is not. Vashon Road would be a better name and perhaps set expectations better for newcomers.”

And speaking of expectations, what are our expectations for how to dress in public spaces? We have this post: 

People fall into two camps: they either think it’s gross or that Vashon is a hippie island, so we should embrace shoelessness. 

The real question is, do shoes make pressing down on the gas pedal slower or faster? 

Also, going barefoot in the grocery store is a kinda weird hippie thing, and aren’t we incessantly branding ourselves as a weird hippie island? I mean, we have bumper stickers instructing us to ‘Keep Vashon Weird.” There aren’t any bumper stickers that say, “Keep Vashon Hygienic.”

And speaking of keeping Vashon weird, we have this rant: 

We get a history lesson in the comments that says Keep [location] Weird started in Austin, Texas, and Vashon just appropriated it. But others say the sentiment evolved independently in both places. One person says, “I first saw “Keep Vashon Weird” on a t-shirt at the Island Earth Fair in 1999, so probably not Yuppies.”

Others wonder why Vashon should be weird. One says, “It was known as the “hippie” island back in the day (’60’s/70’s)…when did it transition to weird???” Hippies have a narrow range of expected behavior, and Vashon should fall in line with those expectations. But ‘weird,’ that could mean anything. It could mean hiking barefoot on horse trails or getting your arm broken by aliens or getting all your household appliances free off the side of the road, or having an indoor pet chicken named Noodle who wears a diaper and sleeps in your bed. Or it could even mean, god forbid, driving slowly. 

I don’t care about keeping Vashon hippie or weird, I will follow the advice of this bumper sticker and keep Vashon …unorianial? Uranial? Whatever that says. 

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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