Only On Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 03/19/2023

I’m used to seeing people sell old cabinets and bed frames, but we have a more exciting item for sale this week. 

“NOT SURE IF ALLOWED!! 7 NWT and 1 set of thong undies!! I’m like 20 sizes too big for these and even if I were a size uber small, I don’t like my full size undies creeping so I’d probably have a panic attack if I wore these!!! Lol… 5.00 takes em all….”

I had to look up NWT, and it turns out in this context, it means New WiIth Tags (and not NorthWest Trek, which was my first guess.) 

The reason she has these ill-fitting thongs? They were in her grandma’s stuff. 

The tags don’t have sizes, but an islander is willing to take the risk that they may fit. As the original poster says, “If they don’t fit use em as slingshots.. lol..”

It may seem weird to buy someone’s old underwear, but maybe not if they still have the tags on. As someone points out, that means grandma never wore them, which we can all agree is deeply unfortunate. 

If you didn’t end up buying the thongs, there’s still time to get these remarkable artifacts from the German Reunification that someone is selling.

I’m fascinated by the fact that the Checkpoint Charlie sign is boldly English, French, And Russian, with the German is in tiny letters at the bottom. Seems like a bit of an oversight. 

It’s such a strange image. It’s as if the Precious Moments children are observing the fall of communism. It would fit right in between a nativity and a  chicken-shaped wine holder. 

Now this is how you celebrate the fall of communism.

We move on to the rants group, where we talk about the rat problem in town. The best proposed solution is that every business employ a cat to take care of the rats. 

Rats will always be a problem in a rural place. One islander said she’s spent her children’s inheritance on hardware cloth. “I can tell y’all that the best solution is a terrier. We had a Scotty and she was amazing! Once we decided in a fit of frugality that we’d take our garbage to the dump ourselves. I saw that a rat had chewed a hole in our Rubbermaid can, so I was going to dump it, too. As I picked up the can to put it in my trunk, a rat flew out of the hole, bounced off my arm, and ran straight into our Scotty’s mouth. If it had been my husband, he would have been in the next county.”

Also, an islander notes she’s surprised no one has chimed in in defense of the rats. We do, though, have people saying that we live on an island and rats are just a part of life. So what if you buy a bag of overpriced chips only to find a little hole chewed in it? That’s the price you pay for living on an island. (Specifically, the price is $6.)

Someone is looking for restaurant recommendations in West Seattle.  Remarkably, no one recommends the taco truck that’s always parked at the gas station on Fauntleroy Way. 

We also have another request for information. “Does anyone know if there are soundbaths, or sound/bowl gatherings going on? TIA!”

I’m not completely sure what a soundbath is, but I imagine it involves ringing singing bowls. The fact that it’s called a bath implies people may or may not be naked, or in bathing suits, or robes, or grandma’s thongs. 

There are as many options for local soundbaths as there are restaurants in West Seattle. We have these options: “Claro in the villages!” “ They used to do them at Marjesira Inn south of Burton” “Seattle Sound Temple in Fremont has them monthly. There are also past digital sound baths” Nothing says relaxation and spiritual fulfillment like a digital soundbath. 

One person asks, “And would anyone be interested in a sound bowl immersive experience that includes goaties?” I imagine being immersed in goats would have more sounds than just the ringing of a singing bowl. I imagine it being a bit cacophonic. 

Many islanders offer soundbaths, and I’m not sure if it’s just like, a come-hang-out-and-ring-bowls-together kind of thing, or a charge-someone-$30-an-hour type deal. 

If it pays well, we do have a few of those singing bowls at my house. I could offer immersive sound baths with chickens in my yard. 

A brave soul asks the question that had been nagging at me, “So what are y’all talking about?”

We complain about mail not being delivered, and we actually get to the root of the problem – underpayment and no overtime make it hard to hire and keep postal workers. $17 an hour is not a livable wage.

Some say this, which has always confounded me: “The Post Office is already being subsidized with your taxes to the tune of 475 million dollars last year. It will be way worse this year. It’s a failed business that’s getting stupider and less convenient every year. It needs to go away.”

The post office isn’t a business. It’s a public service. It’s not supposed to make money. It’s supposed to provide a vital public service. It’s like complaining that schools don’t make money, libraries don’t, or fire stations don’t. 

How come every time someone wants to defund public services, they never recommend cutting the budget for the most expensive public expenditures, namely, the police and military?

An astute islander points out a major issue with abolishing the post office.

“​​Until we can guarantee solid reliable internet access to all Americans (along with the tech they need to access it at their own home) access to mail seems important to maintain….I worry about the impact losing the post office will have on small businesses, genuinely rural families, and voting by mail. “

Then we get into an argument in which two people keep calling each other ‘pal’ and apologizing for bursting each others’ “bubbles of ignorance.” They transition to arguing about the constitution and who has the reading comprehension skills to understand said document. The second amendment gets thrown about.

Finally, we have a public service announcement about how Washington State Ferries is making its Priority Medical Boarding even more complicated. According their website, 

“Starting Monday, March 20, we will no longer accept faxed medical preferential loading applications and customers will need to work with their health care provider to submit a form on our website. Once submitted, both the customer and provider will receive a confirmation email. A printed copy of this email must be presented with an ID when traveling. “

I’d rather give birth in line for the ferry than do that much paperwork. 

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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