Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 10/22/2022

We start with this seething critique: “Why can’t we touch the pumpkin at TW? I want to touch the pumpkin.”

Many of us have overlooked the signs and touched the orange orb, which conferred great wisdom unto us. 

One person has the right idea – organize to assert our collective rights. “I say we all march over there with signs and defend our inalienable right to touch the pumpkin.”

Alternatively,  if we all organize, we can make sure that I am the only one who guesses the weight of the pumpkin, thus ensuring I win the weight-guessing contest. Then, once I win the pumpkin, I promise I will let everyone touch it (for a modest fee). 

We may not have the right to the wealth of the commons as represented by giant pumpkins, but we do have a formidable military, which is kind of like freedom, I guess. One islander states, “Military jets practicing endlessly over the North End is truly not a source of joy for me.”

An islander provided this picture of flight patterns of the military jets. 

Apparently the jets were in a holding pattern because of a ball game. I don’t understand how that works. Were they going to bomb the game? At least if they did, something would get hit before the 18th inning. 

I can’t tell if this comment is sarcastic or serious: “I love loud noises and I love the military, so for me it’s a no brainer, turn it to 11…if if’s too loud, it’s not loud enough! But skip my house from 5pm to 10am thanks in advance.”

Another commenter confounds me by posting this comment without explanation, “Some of the comments on this post make me want to poop on the beach next to a burning pile of styrofoam.”

Which comments make them want to poop on the beach? And why?And wouldn’t they risk burning their bum?  Is this a desire they have often, or is this a new phenomenon brought on by complaints about plane noise? How are the two related? Anytime I think I have a handle on human psychology and the nature of the origin of our ideas and desires, someone completely throws me a curveball and I realize I understand nothing about the dark forces animating the human psyche. 

One person makes this point, “The cost of one of those flyover exercises could have paid for my kids’ colleges, multiple times.”

Some people say that’s the cost of freedom. And I do like freedom. Do you suppose if we droned hospitals in Somalia a few more times, our freedom of movement wouldn’t be curtailed by underfunded and neglected public transit infrastructure?

We have a cute little stink bug. They’re an invasive species that eats fruit trees, but they’ve got those itty bitty legs and chubby bodies, so how could anyone hurt them? 

Someone gives this helpful description of stink bug behavior, which coincidentally perfectly mirrors my own behavior:  “Stink bugs search for overwintering sites in late fall before the weather conditions drastically change, leading them to seek out shelter in homes and other man-made buildings. They spend the winter hiding inside homes or buildings, usually in the walls, attic or crawl space.”

They get their name because “ if they secrete it smells like cilantro.”

One isalnder clarifies the exact nature of the smell: “Kinda like a burnt rubber/plastic/stale food/dying cilantro plant smell…”

The best way to deter them is the same thing we do to prevent rats from eating our car engines: spritz lavender and mint essential oil. 

Stinkbugs also have this disturbing thing where they flock to their dead, so if you kill one, it will only attract more. One isalnder shares this harrowing tale: “At one point in the 2010s, hundreds of them would clump around doors & their dead bodies & live bugs would fall onto me as I passed through the doorway. They continue to be a nuisance when dead- they still smell, decay super slowly,& attract more of their kind.”

They infiltrate even the most hallowed places in the home. One islander says, “ I was standing over my bed folding clothes and one fell out of my hair !!”

One suggestion is to get chickens and ducks, who will eat them. 

Speaking of animals, one islander shares this information, “something took down a pretty big deer last night right by the horse pasture. Only the head is left. I’m assuming coyotes, but i don’t know. “

Are we sure it was coyotes? Didn’t someone see a wechuge a while back? 

After some people say it’s a blessing because without predation, the deer would overpopulate and starve, the original poster clarifies,  “I know that it is the nature of things, but you get to know your neighborhood deer and I knew this one.”

Another person responds, “We have ours named. 🤍 I’m always nervous when I don’t see one of them for a few days.”

What do you name your local deer? There was one doe who we called Remi (like, Do-Re-Mi) . She would just lie around all day in our backyard all chubby, tired and pregnant, looking as cute as a stinkbug, and then one day she showed up with twin fawns.

Someone kindly offers to help bury the remains. Some days you go on Facebook to find out how your high school classmates are doing but end up volunteering to bury a severed deer’s head. 

The comment thread ends with this sentence from the original poster, which broke my heart. “All done. I buried her with one of my dog’s squeaky toys because I didn’t have anything else”

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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