Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 03/26/2023

Someone posts this alarming message: “Rapid gun fire going off near the south end.”

We discuss the precise locations of people who could and could not hear it in order to triangulate the origin. We figured out it was coming from somewhere kinda south-ish. 

One person says,  “Glad I can’t hear it. Can we just, I dunno, not?” To which someone responds: “Why?”

Hmm, why would someone not want rapid gunfire? I can’t imagine a single reason why that might bother someone. 

Then we get the most American response, “How rapid? Like machine gun or semi auto?”

We have this anonymous post: “Why da ferry bathrooms get these weird ass reflective weiner mirrors? Im tryna piss here.”

An astute islander noticed the coffee cup on top of the urinal and said, “If I was drinking coffee out of a urinal soaked cup I’d stay anonymous too.”

Apparently, there’s a reason to have mirrored bathrooms. One commenter notes, “Harder to tag, easier to clean tags. Plus, you can admire your own junk if you’re so inclined.”

The original poster then changes their tune, “I didn’t think of that, next time I’ll look deep into my reflection’s eyes and hold my hand out and hold hands with myself as we piss together.” It’s remarkable what a little reframing can do to change someone’s intuition about a situation. 

Another commenter adds this practical reason: “If you’ve ever had to wipe down a wall that some lazy pisser has done his business on, stainless is much easier to clean than painted steal🤦🏻‍♂️😂

I guess if we’re using architecture to change people’s behavior, and knowing people behave better when they feel they’re being watched, then having a mirror in the bathroom makes sense. Perhaps they’ll go so far as to anthropomorphize their reflection as their conscience, and then they won’t pee on the wall or spray paint it with a picture of a dong. 

A topic that repeatedly comes up is anonymous posting. Some love it; some hate it, and some respond to every anonymous post by saying, “show yourself coward,” even if the anonymous poster was just asking for electrician recommendations. 

One anonymous poster starts a thread to call out this trend. They say, “Hello my name is group member. Anonymous posting is the new meta. Without a name and face attached and noone to publicly shame, the carrion feeders will seethe and wither when there’s no sustenance to be found. Have a great day!”

I guess the idea is that if people feel the urge to bully, they want to know who they’re bullying. They don’t want to bully a bad opinion in a vacuum; they want to associate that opinion with a person and the entire lifetime of mistakes they’ve made. 

A commenter responds, “Haha! I’m sure the more the unnamed “Group Members” complain about whatever, the more they’ll give their identity away.. It’s a small island😂

I like the idea of using forensic linguistics to discern the identity of anonymous people for the sole and petty purpose of giving them grief for their bad opinions. 

Pretty much any time someone posts anonymously, whether about a bad driver, the ferry or to share a picture of a urinal, people call to demand they disclose their identity.  We got into this same old debate on the urinal thread mentioned above. 

We had all the space in the world to make endless dick jokes, but instead, we chose to have the same boring argument. There is something deeply wrong with us. We need to all collectively take a long hard look at ourselves in the urinal mirror and ask, “Why are we being like this?” 

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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