Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 05/16/2023

Thank you thank you thank you to whomever posted a Star Trek meme. I love Star Trek, and would happily devote this whole column to it, if it weren’t for barefoot shoppers and mysterious green areas on maps. 

Here is the post for which i am eternally grateful. 

As a note, the nudes you you have to send to the admins are nudes of Star Trek characters, or, failing that, pictures of their futuristic fashion. 

They should sell these outfits at Minglement.

Sadly, we have to talk about something other than Star Trek. For those of us who do not have tricorders and have only our measly 21st century technology to navigate unknown terrain, such as the west side of the island, we rely on satellite maps. We have this rant:

“I’d like to rant about myself, and my inability to understand electronic maps, I can’t seem to find any kind of key!  I loved how my dad could read a map in the wind with one hand and fold it back up like a champ while smoking a cigarette with the other. So here’s my question for those of you who are really good with maps why are some of the map locations highlighted in white? What does the white mean?  And what is the green mean?” 

They include this map for reference: 

Blue is where Mariners fans live, green is where Seahawks fans live. The gray parts are the wildlands full of heathens and beasts.

One islander points out that the technology being used could be an issue. “I wonder if yours has a setting that makes it so green. My Maps has green only for parks.”

Another tells us that the colors are unreliable. “The color of the land is only to kind of determine the terrain. Grey is usually a concrete city or developed property where green is usually a field or forest.”

Not to mention, if you zoom out, suddenly, the world is reforested.

The original poster has this to say about the change in the map: “But look at that map there. See how only parts of it are this white gray and yet uptown doesn’t have that.”

So the poster spent time zooming in and out, trying to get a reliable read, only to find the map changed its mind. They say: “oh but lookie loook! This one has green ONLY in wooded area parks maybe!”

The whole island has been paved over except Burton Loop

If you zoomed out of an old-fashioned paper map by completely unfolding it and standing at a distance, the colors didn’t change. So why do satnav maps change?

A local expert tells us why our maps are strobing technicolor monstrosities: “Sourcing the data for these is a difficult task, and it is usually a mash of data from local agencies, landcover data global satellite providers, and user-contributed data from sources like OpenStreetMap. What you are seeing here (on ostensibly Apple maps) is just poor data over Vashon.”

One person asks: “Do you really need a map on the island? 😊

To which the original poster gives this beautiful response:  ‘oh my God are you kidding me I totally do I have to go to peoples houses for work every day and the instructions include things like go through the first gate hop the second fence don’t touch the wire its hot watch out for the donkey don’t go to the first driveway go to the second driveway. We live behind the barn in a bus.”

Now that we can all read maps, let’s get back to being annoyed at each other. We have this rant:  “PLEASE WEAR SHOES IN THE STORES. Like come on.”

The first response is someone saying, “Come on, yourself. Why do you care?”

The answer: “because feet are gross.” Truer words have never been spoken. 

One person agrees, kinda, I think? Hard to say. But they tell us this: “I’m so team wear shoes in stores, at least stores that sell food or medicines. I myself love to go barefoot. I myself have also occasionally stepped in gross things. And I myself have dropped something on the grocery store floor and picked it back up for consumption. You feel?”

Life hack- if you drop something on the floor of the grocery store, you can pick it up and eat it without paying for it. 

We then immediately get off topic. One person says: “I feel this kind of passion about pet dogs in the grocery store. Not service dogs, of course. But a screaming Yorkie in a shopping cart makes me so mad. “

So now we’re picking teams, presumably so we can duke it out in a  tag-team wrestling match. A new contender enters the ring:  “ I’m team well behaved dogs welcome. And very heavily team don’t pretend your dog is a service animal.”

We have another member join that team: “Agree. There was an actual screaming yorkie with an ESA vest on at safeway on Pearl the other day losing it’s mind at a bonafide guide dog. The yorkie owner looked so flustered, there’s no way that thing was emotionally supporting her. The guide dog just did bombastic side eye and I felt offended on their behalf.”

Eventually, and unfortunately,  we get back to discussing feet.  Someone comments, “Bare feet and shoes carry the same crap…literally.”

Ok, but shoes don’t have warts. Or toe fungus. Or yellowing toenails. 

Someone else is on team cover-your-feet: “Ugh, yep, saw a shoeless guy coming out from eating dinner in one of our local restaurants yesterday. 🤮🤮🤮

An islander asked, “Was he eating with his feet?”

We then jump from banning bare feet to banning any source of germs. “Lets keep bare feet, all dogs and toddlers out of all shopping and dining establishments. They all harbor gross things…..”

Don’t you love how we can take a reasonable sentiment, warp it into its worst, most extreme interpretation, and find ourselves advocating banning children from public establishments?  

If that’s the way people are going to be about dirty feet, then I regret to inform you I must take the other hyperbolic stance. I think we should all go around naked, like Ferangi women on Star Trek. 

Finally we have a rant about a local business. Normally, I would not name a business by name, but I think the egregious crime needs to be exposed. An islander says:  “I would like to preface this by saying I’m a little hungry and grumpy right now, so that may have a slight influence on this post. I’m just annoyed that cattle dogs are seriously underrepresented in the inventory of stuffed animals and toys at Vashon Pharmacy.Bluey doesn’t count.”

I totally agree. They need fewer plush pizza slices and more blue heelers. They also should start carrying calendars featuring the best outfits of Star Trek. 

Stardates 41153.7 – 41598.4

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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