Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 09/17/2023

Remember in 2021 when the Evergiven got stuck in the Suez Canal for 6 days? We had our own Suez moment this week. 

A truck got stuck while embarking at Fauntleroy. 

I love that the ferry worker is pushing with all their might. 

One islander says, “ high tide will come eventually…..”

To which another responds. “Tide is on its way out. That’s gonna be messy. 😳

But it gets worse, as the commenters tell us, “…and south end is down for the night…that leaves Southworth.”

And another adds, “no crew for the boat to southworth. It leaves nothing”

So what to do? One person who was overtown asked, “I’m coming home that way. Please tell me it’s cleared up.” When they hear it wasn’t they said, “Guess I’ll go to the bar….”

Why is it taking so long to move the truck? Maybe if a few other people pushed? 

One astute islander makes this observation: “Looks like they are trying the old board under the tire trick? I don’t think it is working?”

Some people  think the ferry workers are just pushing wrong. One says, “I’d have that thing out of there in 2 mins”

Another replies, “I can do it in 1 minute. Lol”

One person sees this as part of the divine comedy we’re unwittingly written into. They say, “As a writer I balk at the bluntness of the metaphor.’

To which another person adds: “and all 3 words rhyme!”

Stuck…truck… wait, what’s the third word? 

We have the perennial suggestion in the comments about how to fix this sort of problem: 

The truck got moved, the boats resumed, and everyone eventually made it back to the island, where they suffered another travel delay. Yes, it was a parade of the infamous Vashon Slow Drivers Coalition. We have this post: 

I’m so sick of people posting this idea that I’m going to get a horse and buggy that I ride around all day out of spite. 

Some people blame the elderly for always driving slow. As a middle-aged person who drives slowly, I say, yes, keep blaming them. Don’t look at me. 

One wise islander says “Remember: it’s not that people drive slowly because they are old; rather it’s that people can get old because they do drive slowly.”  

And speaking of elderly drivers, one person points out. “Older people can have a narrower field of vision, a harder time seeing pedestrians, diminished arm strength, slower response times. People always comment that they drive slow for philosophical reasons but I think these answers are probably the correct ones. “

All those things are also true of me: My vision is garbage, my glasses are always streaked with little child fingerprints, my arms are basically spaghetti, and I’ve got sloth-like reflexes. But again, let’s blame the old people so I can fly under the radar. 

The only thing more irritating than slow drivers is drivers who are not moving at all and just idling their cars. We have this post: 

The first comment is, “Maybe they had to jump start their car before they left for the ferry?”

Anonymous asks what the likelihood of that is, and we all say, high. It’s happened to all of us. My car went through this rough phase in its life where I didn’t get a new battery for, like, eight years, and every time I turned on the car I had to jump it. I have a portable jumper, and I got to the point where I could do a jump in about 70 seconds. But when I was in the ferry line, I wouldn’t turn off my engine until I knew we wouldn’t be moving for a while. Then I’d jump it and turn it on as the boat arrived and idle until all the cars were unloaded and I could embark.

We come up with other reasons for idling. Maybe they’re very sensitive to temperature and need the AC on. Maybe they need to charge their phone. Maybe they don’t even realize their engine is on. As one person recounts, “Ok, I once sat making snarky comments about the fool who left their engine running on the whole ferry crossing. It wasn’t until I went to turn mine on that I realized it was me.”

Eventually we get around to answering the question posed, rather than shame the poster for not thinking of every possible scenario where a person might need to idle.

Our suggestions: “I would grumble and judge them, but I wouldn’t say anything.”

Another says, “Answer: Turn up the new drop of Blink-182 and fill your car up with vape smoke.”

A third idea: “Gently, casually inquire, ‘did you know about the no-idling signs?’“ I like that it’s not calling attention to  the rule, but about creating awareness of the sign that signifies the rule. 

One person has experience with this situation. They say, “I always knock on the window and in my nicest voice ask if they know that they are in a no idle zone. Only once did some nutjob come back with ‘you’re not the boss of me.’”

Some people say, “who cares?” They think you shouldn’t approach because it’s none of your business. Others counter that if a car is idling in front of you, and you are breathing exhaust, then it is your business. 

As one person says, “I care. This is total douchebag behavior. The answer is simple: turn your fucking engine off whilst in line. Let me guess…was the car a white Porsche SUV?”

Another disagrees: “We’re surrounded by a bunch of busy body Karens. This is why the island is losing its sweet charm and nice community.” 

Some people go so far as to say asking the driver to stop idling is harassment. 

Anonymous clarifies: “The OP question asks ‘Do you say something to the driver?’ – This question is not intended to be an aggressive action towards the driver. It does however involve making contact and communication, which in itself is not ‘harassment’.”

One person leaves this comment: “Isn’t this why bananas were invented?” I can only imagine this is like Mario Kart where you throw a banana peel at the other drivers so they spin off the track. I’m not sure how well that would work against an idling car, which is by definition not moving. (I have been informed by more cultured people that this is a reference to Beverly Hills Cop.)

After spinning our wheels over the same litany of mild grievances, we have a more upbeat post. Someone asks where to take her family when they come for a visit to get the “full ‘Vashon experience?’”

We of course list all the many beaches and local businesses, but one islander has a  different idea for an authentic experience: “I think you have them come via Pt Defiance, get there at noon. Sit in the hot sun for 90 minutes until they are told there will be no more ferries that day. They then can drive to Southworth, where they are told the one boat is out of service but the two will be there at 5. Of course it will be running late and if they are lucky it will go to Vashon Via Fauntleroy.”

Someone offers, “ I could take them out fishing for sharks. “

Another idea: “Desperately look for toilet paper after 9:45 PM.” 

I think they should go blackberry picking in the island’s many parking lots. Then they could take a scenic ride down Wax Orchard, stopping at the many free piles to collect half-empty gallons of paint and broken exercise equipment. After that, they can go into town where they can be boggled by the four-way stop, which is a strange phenomenon that, according to every other post this week, is an enigma to any off-isalnder.  

For dinner, they can go to Thriftway for burritos. (Be sure to give the cashier my phone number when ringing up, because if I buy ten burritos, the eleventh is free.) Then, when it gets dark, they can drive around and steal people’s mail.  

Finally, if they’re lucky, they’ll get a chance to watch the stars as they wait behind a stalled truck on the ferry dock. 

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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