Only On Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 11/19/2022

Since all judges were running unopposed on the latest ballot, an islander suggests putting in write-ins for those races. Their list of write-ins is: 

“8 track cassette tape, SpongeBob SquarePants, Ron Burgundy, Sean Connery, C3PO, Buck Rogers, Alf, Rodney Dangerfield, Ned Flanders”

Looking at this list, I think SpongeBob and C3PO are the best choices. C3PO knows thousands of languages, works as an interpreter, and has experience being in a righteous, yet criminalized, underground syndicate. I feel like he’d be able to see things from the accused’s point of view. 

SpongeBob is compassionate, hardworking, and sees the best in everyone. If I find myself accused of crimes beyond my comprehension in an inscrutable system of rules and punishments, I would trust SpongeBob to make it all make sense. 

Sean Connery would sentence me for life because he doesn’t like the look of me, so maybe not him? 

And speaking of incomprehensible crimes, we have this very specific anonymous complaint: 

“Now that the winds are beginning to rise in earnest, it is time to ask yourself, ‘Does that wind chime I hung up make such a beautiful sound that I am justified in forcing my neighbors to listen to it for hours at a stretch?’”

I’m curious about the size and power of their neighbor’s wind chimes that they can be hard o’er the land on a windy day. I can barely hear my own thoughts in my head when the wind is blowing, let alone my obsidian wind chimes. 

I’m not the only one with questions. One commenter says, “How bad does it have to be to rant about wind chimes anonymously. I’m really curious how loud these wind chimes can be anyone got audio. And I think we need more information too! are they brass? glass? bamboo?bone? help us form an educated opinion on this.”

These are good points. Perhaps the wind chime in question is a jet engine that makes plane noise. 

The post led to disagreement. Some call wind chimes noise pollution, some call them the ‘bells of Beelzebub’, and one person even says, “Wind chimes are the devil. I have a visceral hate for them.” Meanwhile, others say the wind chimes stay. Some people even chime in (get it? Chime in?) to say they don’t have neighbors. Whether or not they have wind chimes is unknown. 

Then someone made this comment, which I assume is a joke? “I so dislike them also that I refused a gift from a family member who insisted on purchasing them for me and I haven’t spoken to since.”

I never knew that wind chimes were such a flashpoint of conflict. Why not say, “Oh thank you! They are so lovely! I’ll put them right here in this bag labeled ‘take to Granny’s’ to keep them safe until I hang them up.” 

One person says, “They keep bad spirits, and Group Members away, so yeah all good”

Though some say the root of the problem is the wind, which is what causes wind chimes to make noise. I expect we will rant about how we hate the wind in our neighbors’ yards. 

A newish islander had a run-in with an old-timer. They tell us this story. “While walking my dog a women pulled over to inform me the vacant wooded lot that my dogs pooped near (and I picked up) belonged to her father in law and dont I know who he is and how I showed disrespect.”

We glom onto the most important part of the story, of course. That part being dog poop. “If that lady knows of a way to stop one’s dog from pooping while on a walk, I wish she’d share it with the rest of us,” says one islander. 

“Gimme an address I gotta take a shit,” says another. 

The original poster responds with, “funny enough she told me she is watching for people so she can let them know!”

In solidarity, we create a movement (get it? movement?) to counter the old-timer’s rudeness. “We need to gather our activist friends for a seasonal Shit Brigade. Group Pooping is funner when there’s a good cause. 🤣

Someone recommends a dog poop catching gizmo that your dog can wear, which would presumably keep the neighbors happy. 

One islander comments, ‘OMG I need one of those for my trips to Thriftway! I shit my pants in the coffee isle last week.’ Ok, they actually sell the very thing you are looking for further down in the coffee aisle. It’s called a diaper.

Another person responds, “coulda been worse. You could have shit someone else’s pants.”

How is it that on serious posts, we talk about the most frivolous things, and on ridiculous posts, we get into the weeds of economics and labor history? 

We have an anonymous rant about being irritated that a restaurant didn’t have French fries and offered to swap them out for mashed potatoes. 

The comments consist of an endless back and forth between people who think the younger generations are lazy, and those who think service workers deserve higher pay. 

The elders spend time in the comments talking about how they worked multiple jobs starting at age eight. It’s heartbreaking that people are forced into child labor to support their families. I wish they realized that what happened to them was not OK, and ideally we would organize society so it wouldn’t happen to other children. However, they seem to think that children not working, or not being good at adult jobs, is a sign of them being entitled and lazy. Truth be told, every child is entitled to an education and free time, and should not be doing hard labor.

Other older people talk about how hard they worked for only $1.60 an hour, and how it took them a solid four months at those wages to save up for the down payment on a house. 

I used to work fast food back at a place called Jeffrey’s Pizza, Pasta, and Subs when I was in college. I worked at the sandwich station, where I would make weird things for people who wandered in red-eyed and with the munchies, asking for cranberry sauce on a tuna sandwich, or extra pickles on their Philly Steak and Cheese. Mid-sandwich-making, I’d have to rush to the pizza station to catch pizzas coming out of the oven before they piled up. It was like attending the birth of a pizza, holding a box in outstretched arms, ready to catch it as it emerged screaming from the conveyor belt oven into the world. 

Occasionally we’d hire fourteen-year-olds, and they weren’t the best workers, understandably, because they were really young and inexperienced. But mostly it was people in their twenties and thirties. One of the older managers would come in on the nights I was the shift manager and make two pizzas for his family then leave without paying, knowing full well I would never say anything to anyone about it. (I guess not never, as I’m telling you now, but I think we’re well beyond the statute of limitations here.) Because even twenty years ago, fast food didn’t pay a living wage, and you found yourself sneaking food at work because you couldn’t afford groceries. 

Maybe fast food workers aren’t lazy. Maybe they’re overwhelmed and exhausted, and deserve to be cut some slack. 

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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