Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 05/07/2023

We start with some positivity for once, but I promise, the sunshine won’t last long. 

An islander poses the question, “What do you enjoy most about our lovely island?”

Most responses relate to nature- the ocean, the trees, and, remarkably, driving, which I thought we all agreed was a source of endless stress and conflict. 

For example, One typical answer was, “The sky and ocean are like a new painting everyday.The people are friendly, even if you don’t know them.”

Another person says, “Not living there anymore!” which garners the response, “Glad you left” Yes, the people are indeed friendly. 

Someone even points out that sense of crossing a liminal boundary when arriving here. “Getting off the Ferry or Water taxi when you first land back here..something about that first breath when you land is just kinda spiritual.”

But this person is clearly a masochist: “The 4 way stop in town on a Saturday. A pure test of my patience and sanity.”

Another islander says, “The secret currency of exercise bikes and treadmills.”This is the most inconvenient currency to carry in your wallet, which explains why so many islanders drive pick-up trucks. 

We also have some responses that I’m pretty sure are jokes, such as: 

  • “The fruit stand uptown in the summer”
  • “The wolves” 
  • “I love the ferries!” 

And speaking of how much we all love the ferries, an islander came across this bumper sticker: 

To which we ask: “WCIBT?”

Someone kindly informs us that this means ‘Where can I buy this’ and the answer is the San Juan Islands. It’s good to know that out there in the great wide world, or at least in the great wide Western Washington, others are suffering a similar plight. Waiting for a ferry that may never come is indeed the essence of the human condition and thus the perfect sentiment to put on a bumper sticker. 

And speaking of ferries, someone posted this picture.

Remember two minutes ago when everyone said how much they loved the ferry? This must be why. 

People immediately react to the license plate because if someone is a bad parker, we need to be able to say why- what facet of their identity makes them inherently bad at parking? The only thing we have to go off of is their license plate, so let’s roll with that. Anyway, the plate is from Montana. 

As many commenters point out, “They are from Montana….used to wide open space…🙃

But the Montanans in the group say no true Montanan would park this way. They must be an undercover operative from California. “Welp, license plate indicates they are from Gallatin County (Bozeman area) so could be out of state transplants (Californians?) instead of “actual” Montanans…lol. As a born and raised Montanan, I’ll cling to the hope it’s a transplant giving us a bad name…heh.”

So we can’t be sure of their identity even with a Montana plate. Let’s just assume they belong to whichever subset of people we hate the most, and then use their bad parking to further entrench us in our notion that those people are bad. It’s a tidy system. 

But another commenter makes us look at ourselves in the mirror when they say, “Parking like a local.”

We have some questions about how the ferries were long ago in the distant past. Someone poses the question:  ‘Can any of you long-timers tell me about when you could ride a ferry without hearing several numbskulls shout into their cellphones? “

We learn this from our elders: “Yeh, before cellphones you had to listen to the clatter of hooves as the horses and buggies loaded. That got old real quick.”

Another said, “You had two quarters. If you wanted to live dangerously you could spend one of them, play Space Invaders until sometime after the engines cut and hope you found a pay phone that wouldn’t steal your last quarter.”  Wow, way back in the old times when people’s pockets weren’t big enough to hold three quarters. 

Some people were so invested in the video games that they would stay on the boat to play. As one islander says, “Lol i remember those days. Sometimes walking off after all the cars boarded for the next destination. I can also remember guys getting extra lives and saying to hell with it and going back and forth. Think that was the Donkey Kong days tho” Now you can just play a video game on your phone, and if you’re not done when the boat docks, you can just keep playing while you drive. 

Also, from now on, I’m referring to the time before cell phones as “The Donkey Kong days.”

One islander has this beautiful response:  “I think it was around the year 2387 when personal comms devices were embedded between ear and brain, so we could just think to each other (quietly). But the sudden bouts of laughter were a bit unsettling to witness.


Ok, but what I really want to know about the future from this brain-implanted time traveler is if we ever get back to a three boat schedule? Also, do you have to pay extra so the brain-chip doesn’t play ads? 

Finally, we have this post: “have a feeling that this is going to become a normal thing in households on the Island” which links to a video of a person feeding marshmallows to his pet dog, coyote, and raccoon. 

This is incredibly irresponsible because marshmallows are bad for your teeth, and raccoons can’t go to the dentist.

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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