Only On Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 06/24/2022

Is Vashon cold and unwelcoming?  We have this post: 

“Coldness 🥶 Skepticism 🤨 Judgement 🧐… does Vashon have what has often been referred to as the “Seattle Freeze”❓🤷🏽‍♂️❓” The poster also asks,  “Maybe it’s me, and my shaved six pack abdomen 🤷🏽‍♂️… IDK.” 

As evidence for the freeze, he cites how when he pulls over to let people pass, he gets no nod of acknowledgment. He also mentions an older man on the Burton Loop who glared at him when he waved. This all happened even though he has “an approachable aura 🧘🏽‍♂️

Some of us say it’s not just Vashon. As one islander says,  “There’s a general air of palpable exhaustion and maybe people just don’t have a lot of emotional energy left for much else beyond surviving? “

Kindness is a sparse resource in this economy. 

On top of that, there’s the issue that you make friends with people, but then they get priced out of Vashon, or sick of the ferry commute, and leave after a few years. Some ask, why make an effort to befriend new people if they’re just gonna move away after two years? Friendship is a lifelong commitment. 

And of course, we have to talk about how things used to be better back in the halcyon days of Old Vashon. One longtime islander tells us that those heydays were from 1990-2015, where there were hidden make-out spots on KVI, and “everyone knew the local cop and knew where he was at any point in the day.”

Some say they miss hating how they kept running into people at Thriftway and had to stop and chat when all they wanted was “to get home, get in your underwear and consume a frozen pizza.”  Now we seldom run into people we know at Thriftway. Last time I was there, I only ran into two people I knew.

We’re told that the trick to running into people is to go to Granny’s. That’s where you’ll meet the true islanders who want to talk about the absolute treasure they found (decorative chicken candles ).

From the Great Grabs from Granny’s FB Group

One islander suggests carrying a Free Hugs sign to make friends, inspired by the You Matter/Please Don’t Eat Animals lady. 

Free Hugs with a trial membership. $3.99 / week with automatic renewal thereafter. Terms and conditions apply. 

Some complain that there used to be lots of local personalities, now all we’ve got is just a bunch of menacing white vans. 

An islander points out that “compassion means not taking things personally especially from strangers that are probably just spacing out or have a resting bitch face.”

As someone with chronic-bitch-face, I wholly agree. 

The original poster has an update. The next time he saw the angry man on Burton Loop, he asked the time and got a friendly answer. Also the guy had an ankle monitor, so maybe he had good reason to be sour.

So the bitch-face defender is vindicated. 

We then discuss what to do if you are afflicted with bitch-face. There’s the snile, which is a portmanteau of snide and smile. It’s when you try to smile but it’s not genuine. I do this all the time. I think it scares children. Then there’s the smoop, which is a smile combined with, well, I’ll let you guess. 

But it’s not just the people and their faces. Everything about the island has changed. Plants have grown. Some of us are upset at how much we’ve let the blackberries spread. The island is being taken over by both Californians and unkempt lawns. Not to mention that the areas that used to be free and unkempt are now public forests, which is conversely also a problem. 

And along with the unkempt lawns come mice and rats, who swarm like locusts and total our classic cars. 

If people would just be more friendly, we wouldn’t have a problem with rats. 

Another change is the phone system. An islander shares these memories. “We had party lines in those days and a 4 digit number. If memory serves, the rings were different too. You might pick up and hear another neighbor talking about you or a fellow neighbor by accident. The other thing I remember is the open wells and cisterns in the woods. It seemed like they were everywhere. Kids had to be careful.”

At least if your neighbor caught you talking about them behind their back, you could fall down a well about it. 

And speaking of the island growing more anonymous, we now have anonymous posting in the rants group. We immediately use it to post about the people having sex in a van in the pharmacy parking lot. 

One suggestion to get them to stop- get those buskers who play the same three accordion songs outside Thriftway to serenade them. 

One islander says, “Can we have postings that tell the poster they will be anonymous but really aren’t? That sounds more in keeping with island life…” That also sounds like a clever way to bring back the phone system that inadvertently snitched. 

A rotting house that sits on an acre of prime real estate is for sale for 395k. 

This leads to my two favorite islanders having this flirtatious exchange in the comments in response to the question, “who would buy this?” 

1: “Someone who wants a valuable acre of land

2: yer an acre of valuable land

1: I wish I was an acre of land … I would let you live, farm, and pee on me 🫠

2: bury me ass-up

I love these two people with my heart and soul. 

They then start sharing pictures of food, and one says, “I want my friends to eat me when I die. “

When I die, I wouldn’t recommend eating me on account that I’m mostly food preservatives and microplastics, but feel free to harvest my organs for whoever needs them and then give the rest of my body to medical students to dissect. Finally, have the rest of my remains buried under an invasive blackberry bush. 

As is our weekly tradition, we get very worried about a dog who is on the street and barking. Is he telling us something is wrong? Has Timmy fallen in a well (after being caught talking smack about someone on the telephone? ) As usual, it turns out the dog lives at the nearest house and is just hanging out. He’s barking to say hello, but with the Vashon freeze, we assumed something must be wrong if he was trying to engage us in conversation. 

Finally, we have some art!

“This original piece of art has been kicking around the Liquor Store for 3+ years.  It’s an original signed ink on paper, not a print.  Any takers?”

I absolutely love this picture. Someone, please buy this for your growop. 

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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