Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 04/21/2024

This week we have set out to solve all that ails our society. And the best place to go to look for reasonable, actionable proposals is the comment thread of a facebook post. 

We have this post that provides an innovative idea for disrupting the public transportation sector- privatizing the ferries. 

Maybe Xfinity will run the ferry system, since they are a private company known for reliable island service. 

Or maybe Boeing.  It’s not like the doors are integral parts of the ferry, so if one falls off mid-run, it wouldn’t be a big deal. 

One person says this: “it would either be better and prohibitively expensive or cheap and completely crap.” I mostly agree, but the cynic in me feels it will be a third option- expensive and crap. 

Another person has an even darker outlook than I do. They say, “Imagine no one bidding on the opportunity and we have no ferry at all.”

Someone makes this point, which I hadn’t even thought of: “Why would a company build ferries if they didn’t know if they were going to have the job. It’s not like they would be sailing around looking for a slip to pull into.”

Would WSF hand over their boats to a private company, or would the company be expected to find/build boats of their own? Would we end up sailing on decommissioned ferries, the Evergreen State with even more ceiling panels removed, or would the bones of the Sewol Ferry be dredged out of the Yellow Sea?

Someone swings in the opposite direction. Rather than privatizing the ferries, how about we militarize them? They say, “ya can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting some right-wing fucko that would like to see the ferries privatized. If that approach had a snowball’s chance in hell, I’d be on it like fur on a weasel. I think either the Navy or Coast Guard should operate the ferries. They have plenty of personnel and can deal with those that won’t do their jobs.”

One person thinks there’s room for creative innovation. They propose this transport system: “at this point I think a really big slingshot combined with the styrofoam that the recycling center won’t take might be a more reliable way to get to the other side.” 

That’s an excellent solution. Now that we’re on a roll, let’s see what other problems we can tackle.We have this post: 

Judging by the comment count, we have 71 distinct problems. And I, as a devoted public servant, will solve them all for you. 

We start with this problem: “I didn’t win the lottery!!🤬” If you want a quick windfall, rob a bank. 

“The sorry losers who blocked traffic at SeaTac yesterday.” Take the light rail to the airport. 

“Pollen invasion!” Stay inside. 

“Beef jerky prices 🤷‍♂️” Become a vegetarian. Or shoplift. Your choice. 

“Who’s turn is it at the four way?” No one’s. Wait indefinitely. 

“I wish we had a rollerskating rink.” Skate in the four way in town now that it’s clogged up by cars who won’t go. 

“The sun is out” Stay inside. 

“How many dogs got loose on the island of free roaming dogs today? 😂” Not enough, Let your dog out. 

“No sushi” Make your own. My kids love sushi, and so they have me make rice for it, and they aren’t willing to wait for the rice to cool, and so they end up eating warm sushi, which is so gross, but they’re into it. So first lower your standards for what sushi should taste like, then make your own. 

“The sun is too bright “ What is with people hating the outdoors? Wear sunglasses. 

“Is the recently installed fence by the former VCC permanent?” It isn’t if you have wire cutters. 

“My car was covered with pollen again 2 hours after going through the car wash. The pollen is insane this year.” Giant car umbrella. 

“Bronchitis!!! It sucks!!! Cough, cough” You should cough on all the people who hate the sun,  pollen and  fresh air, so that they can stay home and away from that giant orb of life-giving fire. 

“When you buy a bag of chips you are mostly paying for air 🙂” Open the chips before you buy them to let the air out, so that you’re only paying for the chips. 

Now I have solved all your problems, so life is perfect. You’re welcome. Oh wait, someone is mad about something new. 

We have this post: 

The first commenter sums up the reaction many of us have to this post. They say, “Huh.” Have there been protesters on the island? Have they vandalized businesses, spray painting “no air in chip bags” on the grocery store windows? I hardly leave the house, so I wouldn’t know. 

The anonymous member says, “which part of this post did you have trouble with? I will be more than happy to explain it,” then proceeds to not explain themselves, but rather get in a spitting match with multiple islanders, one of whom says, “Anonymous member girly pop, your tone is coming off way harsh. It’s not cool to be snarky at the commenters trying to understand your rant, just be mad at the protestors and call it a day lol.”

The anonymous member responds, “Although I really appreciate your psychological analysis of my post and responses, you seem to be a little too concerned about me, and not the degenerates vandalizing downtown.”

And do they ever get called out for that. One person says, “downtown? Seems like it is Seattle.” 

And they don’t get it, so people have to explain that ‘downtown’ means Seattle and ‘uptown’ means Vashon, and if you are not hip to the local shibboleths, then you are not a true islander and can’t complain about a sandwich board that offended you. 

Anonymous member wants to disassociate themselves completely from us and says, “believe it or not, there’s normal humans here that don’t refer to themselves as ‘islanders.’”

One person responds, “Isn’t “Normal Humans” an oxymoron?”

Another adds, “🙌🏻 normal is just a setting on your dryer.” If we’re going to base our identity on dryer settings then I’m ‘delicate’ or possibly ‘air fluff.’ 

Someone articulates the question in a way that the original poster can hopefully understand. “Where are the protesters?”  Someone adds, “are the protestors in the room with us?”

Anonymous member says, “Protestors are not the problem, trespassers that vandalize property in the name of “protesting” is what this post is about. The vandal protestors may be gone, but they left plenty of evidence of their destructive nature downtown.”

But I still don’t know where they were, what they vandalized, or what they were protesting! Please, I need details! I want to be mad at specifics, not abstractions!

Despite a lack of context, we all still argue. One person says, “Anonymous member The Boston tea party was an outrage. That was private property. So destructive!!”

Anonymous responds, “as long as it’s not YOUR property, I’m sure it’s cool right?”

To which an islander responds, “Anonymous member The word ‘mine’ isn’t the top of my value system.” This is an amazing response. Just absolutely killed it. I salute you, Facebook commenter. 

But is our anonymous complainer forced to reckon with their moral compass? If you guessed ‘yes,’ then you are a sweet and innocent soul who has never seen anyone dig in their heels and make a dumb semantic argument to save face. 

OP says, “I didn’t say ‘mine’ I said YOUR. What is with you guys tonight?”

Someone asks the pertinent question directly this way, “When was the protest and what for?”

We get this answer: “Today there has been widespread protests about the situation overseas. In ‘solidarity’ some local vandals have decided to make their voices heard by destroying private property.”

Based on the next section of the comment thread, it sounds like people put some stickers on that long, mysterious wall between the bakery and Subway. The poster is mad because this act is technically illegal, and OP would rather people act completely within the bounds of the law, by doing things such as bombing a hospital.

In the end, we still don’t know exactly what Anonymous was mad about, and one person says, “I was somewhat empathetic to your post until you started being a total ass to everyone for merely asking questions. Take a deep breath and consider not attacking people that are just trying to learn what happened. You’ll probably get more support that way. You just seem like a dick now.”

Poster responds, “I am a dick, but that’s not illegal my guy, vandalism is, and so is trespassing… be mad, but also gain a little perspective in the process”

I have gained no perspective. And the way the anonymous ranter veils any useful information makes me think they’re in charge of communications for WSF. 

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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