Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 11/05/2023

We celebrated Halloween this week, so let’s start with the costumes we chose. We have this post: 

You ask if you are doing it right, and we are here to tell you that no, you are doing it all wrong. 

People workshop the image. One says, “Needs a spare dog leash and a lack of driving skills.”

Another adds, “You forgot ‘Boundless optimism about ferry schedule.’”

See, you should have included abstract concepts in your costume. One does not dress like they are from Vashon by simply wearing strawberry leggings and a down vest over a jean jacket. They must have the aura of a bad driver, the sparkle of hope in their eyes that they may get to their off-island appointment in time, and the faint smell of expensive organic clothing detergent that they got from a stranger in a parking lot. (This will make sense later, I promise.) 

To illustrate how one truly dresses up for Halloween, someone shares pictures of when their family put jack-o-lanterns on their heads and then took glamor shots. My one question is, does your face get rashy in one of those? Or do you line the inside of the pumpkin with satin to prevent the goop and slime chafing against your skin? 

And speaking of pumpkins,  an islander made this Bird King jack-o-lantern. 

And someone dressed up as the Bird King.

 He has risen from his chair to tell me he is tired of my nonsense. Wait, no, he’s just pointing at something on the ground. Is it a quarter? Did someone drop a quarter? Can I keep it? Oh, it’s just a penny. Whatever, I’ll put it in my pocket, forget about it, and then it will destroy my dryer. Thanks Bird King!

There were at least two separate groups of people dressed as sandwich boards, which, if you’ve  spent much time online recently, you’ll know they are seen as the blight of Vashon, a scandal of epic proportions, a manifestation of the Tragedy of the Commons, the work of the devil, etc. 

This group  told me they felt kinda bad that they put the snarky Gifted Child Preschool sign beside a real sandwich board for a real preschool. They didn’t feel bad enough to move the sign, though.  

And shout out to the person dressed as the mannequin that’s permanently stationed on the side of the road drawing attention to the sandwich boards for O Space and giving me the uncanny feeling of coming in contact with something almost human but not quite. It’s like microdosing an alien encounter every time I drive down the highway. 

If you read my Halloween column last year, you may remember me finding these two characters around town. I’m happy to report they have found each other. They make such a cute couple. 

We’re rooting for you!

Halloween is about going to people’s houses uninvited and demanding things from them, and who is a better expert at that than the Jehovah’s Witnesses? We have this post: 

We have suggestions about how to get them to leave. One says, “Just tell em you have covid 😅 they walk right away.” Another adds, “Answer the door naked they won’t come back😉 It works” Unfortunately, that can have unintended consequences. A commenter responds, “Didn’t work for me, there are more than ever now….”

A practical islander suggests, “Ask them to pull weeds with you.”

Another islander has tried to turn the conversation around on them. They say, “I believe I know the ladies you’re talking about. I educated them on the way of Buddha and Hinduism. Perhaps some day they’ll convert.”

Once in Boston two Witnesses came to my house wearing their suits on a hot summer day, and I offered them to come in and get a glass of water. They backed away and said, “We can’t go into the home of a woman.”  So I learned that a good way to get them to leave is to make them even more uncomfortable than they make you. 

An islander recalls this conversation: “when we lived in the city, I had just had [redacted name of baby]  and they showed up right after I got out of the shower. I told them I was an unwed mother and asked if they could come in and help with the baby…never heard from them again. 😂

Another woman who has scared her fair share of Jehovah’s Witnesses responds,  “that’s actually surprising! You would need to be saved even more, I would think!!! There is no saving me. Not only am I married to a woman, I’m a witch & have skulls & talismans all over my house (including tattooed on my body). 🤪

Okay, I want to convert to whatever religion you’re a part of. Please come to my door and explain it. Bring some helpful pamphlets. And a skull.

An islander had this approach: “We always blasted loud Slipknot music or yelled at each other like a domestic dispute when we lived in our apartment.”  I assume they mean as a performance when the Witnesses came by, and not just all the time, constantly. 

Lastly, someone posits this as a reason why they won’t leave: “they have a crush on you”

We have this question: 

Do we answer their reasonable questions? 

Of course not. We make a stink about their punctuation. The very first comment, in bold text, is, “apostrophes don’t make words plural.” It is also a link to a Facebook group by the same name. Unfortunately it’s a private group, so I couldn’t read through the posts and call everyone a bunch of pedant’s. 

Now, I taught ESL for years, and I can tell you, I only notice punctuation errors if I’m specifically looking for them or if they impede my comprehension. So when I got to the comments, I had to reread the original post to see what people were complaining about. 

Someone says,  “life is too short to worry about other people’s use of punctuation on Facebook”

The rude commenter wrongly says, “peoples’ but yeah”

Okay, if a word has an irregular plural, you make it possessive with an apostrophe before the s, such as children’s or women’s or people’s.  If you are going to be a complete ass about grammar, at least be right!

Some people finally take the post seriously and offer their takes, such as that coffee soda is pretty meh. 

One person says,“I’ve tried Zum bath bombs and soaps and a wood ball that was too extreme for my closet but I would love to try out the laundry liquid just to see how the scent meshes with my personal chemistry.”

I love that a wooden ball was too extreme for their closet. Like, how is a wooden ball extreme? Or why is your closet so timid? I also love the idea of figuring out which scent matches your own natural fragrance. I buy my laundry detergents based on one factor: price. So my signature smell is a combination of dog hair and discounted Arm and Hammer. 

One helpful commenter says, “I’m a big coffee guy and the espresso sodas are the devil. They are mud flavored garbage. taste it on par with bug soup or dog bowl water.” 

Others find a way to collaborate. One says, “Maybe you’ve peaked (or is it piqued?) enough interest that one or two other folks here would go in with you to buy the laundry detergent and split it(so you wouldn’t have to resell), so you all could have a ‘trial run’ with it.”

I like the idea of people banding together to buy bulk laundry detergent, then all showing up in  a parking lot to divide it out into Ziplock baggies and try it out at home.  ( I told you it’d make sense.) 

Better yet, maybe one of the local businesses could give out sample cups of detergent and wooden closet balls to trick or treaters next year. 

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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