Only On Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 10/29/2023

This week we’ve seen a series of strange events that are likely harbingers of the world’s end.  That’s right it starts with an earthquake….

I didn’t notice anything, but if I had, I would’ve just assumed it was my dog jumping on the bed.

The comments have about a 50/50 split of who felt it and who didn’t. 

 We discuss where we’re located to see if we can triangulate the location of the quake. We have a book falling off a shelf in Burton, a wood stove creaking on Wax Orchard, and in some undisclosed location on island a dog reportedly “freaked out for no reason.” 

We share various apps that track earthquakes and find that there have been a number of quakes in the area. I don’t know which one caused the panoply of shifting objects and distressed pets, but likely one of the first 2.  

Beside Earthquakes, we also have mysterious beasts rising from the depths. One person posts: 

People reassure us that it’s a perfectly normal seal. Or possibly sea lions. Or maybe an elephant seal? Or a spy submarine. Or Nessie. 

One person says, “Just a seal ‘chillin’. They do that on a regular basis, there’s a term for it but I can’t remember it . Google it.”

Thankfully another commenter chimes in to tell us it’s called ‘rafting’ because lord knows I am not going to look something up in order to better understand a Facebook Thread. I’m going to comment out of pure ignorance as god intended.

We then discuss how elephant seals have been in the Puget Sound recently, and someone posts this picture they took of one. I love how, with all the fabulous cameras we have on our phones that we carry everywhere, a lot of our photos still look like something out of 

Weekly World News.

Batboy rafting

Then we get this heartbreaking tale of a seal’s funeral: “I saw a group of them huddled together, “crying” & floating on their backs into Quartermaster, then floated out together with the changing currents . Someone said they were huddled around a dying lion/seal. Only saw it once.”

As the animals mourn their dead, our society fragments. We have this post: 

One person says, “Just pick the page you like and join it. Problem solved.”

But a commenter adds, “Then when you feel like someone was mean, start a new group and call it ‘the nice one’.”

We then get this tidbit of history: “That’s how Vashonites was started. Then everyone said Vashonites is too nice so I started Vashonites Rants.”

We get a more in-depth oral history of Facebook groups on Vashon: 

“From my experience living on Vashon for 13 years, one original group kicked out certain people who started other groups based on limitations, interests or intolerance. Some admins were very mean & controlling. Any connection I still have to Vashon still tolerated my peace activism & striving for justice. No easy task!”

Others don’t like how, despite being so many pages, people still misuse pages that have a specific purpose. One says, “ I also wish that buying & selling was limited to Buy Barter & Sell.”

A commenter adds, “I get that. I just wish there wasn’t the form you have to fill out on the BBS page.”  Clearly we need a new page for selling stuff that doesn’t require a form. 

One commenter points out that it’s just a manifestation of an aspect of Vashon culture: “All Vashon entities need to be divided into at least two groups for example: swim teams, rowing clubs, animal shelters, grocery stores. I view it as variety and a chance to choose which one works best for me 🤓

Another person says, “If you want to solve decades of small town grudges, great. Go with God. Until then, we have Facebook groups”

One Commenter adds, “I join all the groups due to FOMO……” and I have exactly the same rationale. 

Here’s an incomplete list of some of the Vashon Groups I’m in:

Notably, I refuse to join the Vashon ferry Line Cutters Pitchfork Brigade, which is a real group that I am not making up.

One islander makes this crack about facebook groups: 

I checked if that was a real group, and although it isn’t, I did find a group called Hundred Dollar Hamburgers PNW for pilots to recommend fly-in restaurants, which i didn’t even know were a thing.

The real problem with all these groups is that I only focus on two of them for my column, so if someone posts something remarkable in Vashon All, and people tag me asking me to write about it, I don’t. But then I remember that I am bound by no laws except the laws of nature, so let’s cover the thread about boinking on the ferry. 

A practical islander comments, “Van?” 

Many people point out that it isn’t as romantic as it sounds. One says, “The ferry is public transit, more like a bus than a plane. Through that lens, any presumed 

spicy activity is really just pungent.”

To which the poster replies, “there’s a private bathroom!”

Okay, I don’t care if this makes me sound prudish and old-fashioned, but ew. A bathroom? Just ew. The poster points out there are cleaning products in said bathroom, but somehow bleaching the linoleum floor together just doesn’t sound like sexy foreplay to me. People should just wait until they get to West Seattle and do it in Lincoln Park hidden in a copse of trees like everyone else. 

We have people suggesting names for this phenomenon, :“rocking the boat, getting nauti, captain canoodlers, any port in the storm, bilge rats, the mizzenmasters, Knots Knockin club,  Southworthing, docking , blumpie in the bog, Making the Tillikum connection.”

Honestly, all of these make the act sound unappealing. Like, darling, we have 18 minutes, how would you like to get naked and do something that involves getting labeled a bilge rat?” 

One person says, “Born on a boat gives one no privileges! I have always wondered WHY?”  I’m also disappointed that they don’t let me bang in the maternity ward at Hartford Hospital. I was born there, it should at least afford me that privilege. 

People worry about the presence of security cameras, but the poster reassures us: “a security camera in a bathroom would be violating all kinds of laws… but given that “thar she blows: sea squirt on the Till-I-cum” and related ferry bathroom hanky panky genre hasn’t shown up on pornhub yet we’re probably in the clear.”

Okay, so, do you regularly check porn sites to see if they have this genre? Is this something missing from the world? Is it like how, despite there being 700+ Vashon Facebook pages, there isn’t one that does precisely what you need?

Another commenter points out that no one wants to catch you in the act and also it’s possibly illegal to boink in public, or, as they put it, “Humans should have more dignity than a common street dog.”

Finally we imagine what it would be like if this were a common phenomenon. One commenter wonders if, after the “‘Please take all personal items with you when disembarking the vessel” announcement, the captain said,  “‘Anonymous, Party of two… Your toilet is ready.’”

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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