only on vashon – the weekly rundown 10/8/21

For a brief and glorious period on Monday, Facebook was down. I went to the bulletin board beside Thriftway to see if anyone had scrawled comments in the margins of the flyers. But soon the internet came back, and we were able to resume arguing about speed limits and discussing esoteric phenomena, such as why our garage doors open spontaneously. 

Everyone else

An islander has a garage door that opens without cause and wanted to know if others have had a similar experience. When this happened to their Father-in-law, the military admitted that some kind of testing they were doing was causing his garage door to open. 

Others chimed in. One garage door would open whenever Airlift landed on island. Another person would close their garage door when leaving home only to find it open again when they came back. Turns out a leaf was hanging over the electric eye and preventing it from closing. I suspect the military placed the leaf there. 

This is such a common occurrence that  there is an app for your phone that alerts you when a passing military plane has caused your garage door to open and allows you to close it remotely.

In animal news, we have a loose cow! Red alert! Farm animal on the loose across from K2! We speculate about whose cow it is, and leave cryptic comments like, “The ghost of the Therkelson cow?” and “Bandit is a Normande/Jersey cow, red and white. And could become a show jumper…,” and most oddly, “I met her at a dance once a few years ago but can’t remember her name tho.!!”

I have so many questions. Who is the Therkelson cow and why does her ghost haunt the highway? What is cow show jumping? What tragedy befell Bandit that she couldn’t compete? What was a cow doing at a dance? And how could you meet a cow at a dance and not remember her name? I forget my own birthday, but I would definitely remember the name of a dancing cow that I chatted up at a party, no matter how much time had passed. 

Along the highway, you’ll see not only loose cows, but also other people’s cherished couches, mouldering alongside the road. Are these tourist attractions? Are they meant as a place for people to take a break from driving, lie down, and get a fungal infection? We hate to see our furniture go to the dump, so we hope someone will pick it up and use it. At worst, it’ll get covered by fir needles, colonized by mice, and wind up as an earthen mound for future archaeologists to discover. 

An islander is offering a cabin to rent, you just need to pay first month, last month, security deposit, and to marry one (or more) of the men pictured below.

A few people in the comments are opting to marry the guy holding the cat and wearing glasses, because the cat shows he’s kind and the glasses make him look bookish. 

Not the worst deal you’ll get for a rental, and all you have to do is time travel to 1901. They won’t even require a credit check.

We discussed our favorite things to buy at Costco. Despite the post being reported to the admins, they decided to let it stay.

We buy bricks of butter and buckets of mayonnaise. We buy flan and little macaroons. 

Hold on, little macaroons? I thought they only sold big things at Costco. Like if you wanted a pencil, you’d buy a giant novelty pencil that you had to hold with both hands. 

We also buy vanilla flavored soy-milk, because, “Costco should exclude meats…corpses of murdered animals…disgusting!” 

Our list was long, and contained potstickers, hot dogs, gas, and anxiety. Oh wait, that last one is just me. Whenever I’m in a big-box store, I get this feeling like history has taken a wrong turn, and that humans weren’t meant to go in giant sunless boxes and buy apples wrapped in styrofoam. I start cursing my ancestors for ever giving up being nomads. I’m pretty sour about the fact that I live in a world where the sentence “crypto-currency farming isn’t carbon neutral” makes sense. 

But I don’t need to worry about going to Costco for a while, since it’s practically impossible to leave the island. The South End ferry is completely down, and the North End is on a two boat schedule due to a lack of Coast Guard certified crew. Some of us have suggested contacting the governor and asking him to have the Coast Guard staff the boats themselves. Others say Inslee has no sway over the Coast Guard, but could call in the National Guard. We’d be happy if any branch of the armed forces would crew our ferry boats. If they can open garage doors from afar, surely they can run a ferry boat. 

A cruise ship was spotted near Tacoma- maybe they could ferry us across? 

Or maybe it’s time to build that bridge.

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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