only on vashon – the weekly rundown 08/20/2021

In this week’s installment of slowly documenting the fall of civilization, we have a breakdown of the ferry service and the global supply chain, as well as an early termite swarm.

Let’s start with the ferries. The Chetzemoka had a generator failure that caused it to go out of service for the better part of a day. 

Although most of us are frustrated with missing appointments, some like the ferry’ s irregularity and lack of dependability. They say it prevents people from moving to the island. 

An islander pointed out  that in 1980 the Issaquah took out the Fauntleroy ferry dock, so at least that hasn’t happened lately. 

An alarm at the Tahlequah dock went off for an hour on Tuesday, expressing perfectly our general mood this August. 

The grocery stores on- and off- island have some empty shelves. We’ve got experts in supply chain and grocery business filling us in as to why, and it all boils down to COVID- a lack of truckers, outbreaks at warehouses, a slowdown in mining. Then we got into the same debate that every thread turns into: is it lazy to choose not to work for wages that are too low to survive on? Or should you withhold your labor until you are offered enough pay to meet your needs? I personally feel that my one limited and fleeting lifetime is worth more than $15 an hour, but I’m not the one in charge of deciding the value of everyone’s time. (The person with that job makes the big bucks.) 

My girlfriend always tries to convince me people like cinnamon raisin bread.  Nope, not even in an apocalypse : funny
At least we’ll always be able to get cinnamon raisin bread.

This conversation came up again (please, let’s have a new conversation!) when a local business posted a notice they were hiring, and an islander asked how much the position paid, which is a totally reasonable question. 

Naturally, we took things to extremes- some calling the local business an oppressor and others volunteering to work for free to help the business stay afloat (please don’t do this! Jobs should pay!)

We’ve talked a number of times about access to tidelands, and where private property ends and public water access begins. The laws on the matter are convoluted and unclear, and every property has a different end point (some end at extreme low tide, others at median low tide) which no passerby would know about because it’s not the sort of thing you post on your mailbox. 

It ultimately comes down to the nature of private land ownership. We live in a system where the vast majority of the world is cut off from you. You can freely go to only the place where you live, public roads, parks, and buildings, and private businesses (so long as you’re willing and able to pay.) Everything else is out of bounds. Some people may end up going outside those narrow bounds, and not necessarily on purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the world is so parceled up and walled off.  

What else were we mad about this week? Oh yes! Speeding cars. Someone got a video of a car passing in the passing lane. When you’re a driver and see someone driving badly, the logical thing to do is obviously to film them while driving and post it on the internet. Because safety first. 

And as we said above, the termites are swarming. You can bat them out of the air.

There were a few things that we managed to keep our tempers in check for. Someone saw a strange animal, grey with a body shape like a koala. Turns out it was a mountain beaver, though some felt it was a chupacabra. Others suggested a tailless raccoon, as raccoons with no tails are endemic to Vashon for multiple reasons, which brings up more questions than it answers. (Such as: what should the minimum wage be? Just kidding! The question is: Why would so many raccoons lose their tails?)


There’s a library where you can check out a person for half an hour and learn about their life. Someone recommended this for Vashon. Others pointed out we already have this. It’s called riding the bus. 

We identified a mystery hole as having been created by either a mole, vole, deer, or raccoon (aka the usual suspects.) We also got a recipe for mole repellent that uses castor oil and dish soap.

Finally, we want to tip the deli workers at Thriftway. But how do we do it? There’s no tip jar. Someone recommended tipping them outside of work somehow. Maybe we should all drop dollars in the Thriftway parking lot? Or slip them behind the kombucha for the restockers to find? 

Back to the end of the world. We talked about the Tacoma Toxic Plume, and this thread has great links for information and soil sampling. 

I just learned that four planets are currently in retrograde (Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto.) I’m going to assume this is the source of all our angst, (rather than the plague, wildfires, climate catastrophe and biblical swarms) and thus say that we can go back to tracking escaped farm animals by *checks astrology notes* December. 

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.

8 thoughts on “only on vashon – the weekly rundown 08/20/2021”

  1. Please please please…add a way to send emails when there’s a new post to this blog. I’m not on Facebook. But love reading these and never know when a new post has been up,oases. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the levity.

    I ask myself often AITA? I can be. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong about things.

    I’ll keep it up… I would like to see more white people stepping up for equity and inclusion.

    Keep up the great writing!

    1. Thank you! You are not TA. I think it’s good that you asked about pay for the job. Someone who’s interested in the job would want to know that information, but they might feel like it would be too brazen to ask.

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