Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 05/12/2024

We start with an important public service announcement. Here are instructions on how not to post about cats.

It turns out this  list was not exhaustive. There are some other requests for inclusion. 

One person says, “You forgot,…..’May the stars guide you home.’”

Another adds, “Most helpful: Get a dog.” 

And one person takes it sideways with thai comment,: “The least helpful response would have to be: If there’s a drawing please include me 😜” 

Some say the 5th is the least useful, because the tips for getting your cat home are dubious at best. One gives this example, “eat a peanut butter sandwich on the front porch under an umbrella at 3 o’clock in the morning on a rainy night and see if your cat comes home.”

You mean like this article on wikihow, which tells you to stand outside your house and harangue the local children.

Number one is also a strong contender. As one member says, “If Fluffy didn’t check FB that day, he would not know anyone wanted him to go home.”

Some say point 6 may be helpful, or it may just be obnoxious. As one commenter says,  “This comment is INTENDED to help you find fluffy by providing information your overwhelmed brain might have missed. Everything else is in the ‘giving pregnant women advice on birth control’ category.”

But the original poster sees it differently. They say, “Your intention doesn’t trump the original person’s request, which is ‘have you seen my cat?’ That’s not an opportunity for you to stick your nose in and offer unwanted advice.”

The whole point of the internet is to give us a platform for sticking our noses in other people’s business. Remember the internet in a time before social media, when the biggest thing was the Starr Report? And then we got MySpace and Facebook and eventually honed the fine craft of cyberbullying. All of human history has been building up to the point where we have the technology to always butt into each other’s businesses, day and night, everywhere we go, anytime we want. The internet is the pinnacle of human accomplishment–it allows us to spread gossip at light speed. 

And speaking of cyberbullying and gossip, there are two specific people we all hate. 

Someone’s still mad about a sink they claimed that got snatched out from under them. They say, “I really needed that sink! I blame the BuyNothingStalkerSnatchers though I have no idea who they are.”

No rant is complete without a commenter scolding the poster for not considering what the person’s situation may be. We have this gem: “Why degrade yourself with such a post? It’s pretty shameful to publicly disparage someone for making use of a service they might need. You don’t know these people or their circumstances. However, if you do know them, maybe do better and talk to them personally instead of calling them out in such a petty way.”

Hey anonymous, how do you know these people don’t need six bookshelves, a bunch of two-by-fours, a doll house, ten pairs of children’s shoes, a box of left-handed gloves, a rusty chainsaw, pink hair dye, moving boxes, and a refrigerator?  Maybe they are planning a very complicated murder and need to cut up a body, store it, and assume a new identity. 

We’re not just mad at people taking free things, but also looking for free things. We have this post: 

When I can’t find something on Facebook, I drive around looking for Amazon packages to steal. 

Then we have a post that will only make sense to people who are online so much in the local Facebook groups that they know who gets the free stuff first. 

If you don’t know what this refers to, let me give you a quick explainer: One day something happened online, but you were outside, enjoying the sunshine, and your life is better for it. I will spare you the cursed knowledge of the stackable washer/dryer. 

Okay, nevermind, you need context. Someone asked for help setting up a stackable washer dryer. A man responded that stackables are dangerous and could asphyxiate you. I think maybe they meant they could fall on you? I don’t know. But it’s become a Whole Thing. And now people are responding to this post being like, that poor guy who said this will never live it down, and he’s probably totally traumatized. One person said it would be like if you crapped your pants in school, and for the rest of your life you were known as Pants-Crapper, and anytime anyone mentioned pants-crapping, people thought of you. 

And as for being forever known for a crummy thing you did once, imagine being the person who donated half a puzzle to Granny’s. We have this post. 

We have an answer to the mystery: “Hi! I think that was ours. My dog ate like 50 pieces so I put it back in the box, but I think my wife donated it. 😆 sorry!”

Here is a picture of the culprit: 

Now whenever anyone mentions missing puzzle pieces, we’ll think of this guy, deride him and laugh. 

And speaking of naughty animals wreaking havoc:

Someone adds this helpful addendum” “There are 3+ families of geese in that area this time of year. There’s poop EVERYWHERE so pedestrians watch your step too.”

There’s also this illustration: 

Thank you everyone for warning me about the baby geese. I am grateful to the vigilance of my fellow islanders for keeping me safe during this difficult time (gosling season.) 

A detail some people glommed onto that I missed was how the geese are going to the watershed. We have this bit of local lore: “That’s a death trap.[Redacted name], bless him, fished a drowning cat out of that pond a few years ago. It has concrete sides so any animal who falls in can’t get out unless they can fly.”

Well, I’ve got good news about geese. 

Update: “Thanks to [redacted] and some emergency vet care to get warmed up, the cat recovered.” 

Another detail was the address. One person asks, “Kind of a random question but because I used to live on 97th Ave Sw in Burton so is there more than one?!”

Someone points out that there are multiple similar addresses on island. “There are like 3 115ths, 3:107ths and so many more crazy streets. It’s like, aren’t there MORE words we could have named this?!?” 

And the final detail that caught people’s eye was how the store was named. One person says, “WTF is the home center?”

Someone responds, “My thoughts too, but I think OP means Island Lumber. They must be new.”

And the final thing we’re annoyed at is the choice of venue. One person says, “Why is this in rants? Who are we mad at – the geese? motorists? the ‘Home Center’?”

But we have a response as to why we should be mad. “Are you trying to troll the post? There are babies walking across the road, there are motorists driving fast af down 97th, this post is about that situation…”

Amazing how one sentence can inspire such a panoply of complaints. We deride how streets are named, how new islanders don’t use the local names, how geese behave, how watersheds are built, and how, of the ten thousand local facebook groups, someone chose the wrong one to post in. 

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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