Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 3/25/2022

We’re asked: “ What is the craziest, freakiest, weirdest thing on Vashon that you enjoy?”

I like that the question includes the caveat “that you enjoy” so that we don’t get a litany of complaints about slow drivers, fast drivers, pedestrians who don’t wear bright colors, stackable washer-dryer sets, or the lack of speed limit signs. 

Our first entry into the hall of fame is Stupid Bike Night, a night in which you ride a bike that is on fire. 

We also have this list of free-range animals: “Loose dogs/cows/goats/sheep/chupacabra.” I have yet to see a chupacabra milling about an intersection, but if I do, I’ll be sure to tag VIPP.

Some of us love the way our driveways are eroding, or, as one islander puts it, “becoming moonscapes.” This is a way more romantic way of describing our roads than calling them “deteriorating,” which is the word I would choose. I personally do not love the potholes in gravel driveways, on account of both the poor shocks in my car. Also, there’s a loose wire in my car’s radio, and every time we go over a bump, the radio stops working, and if we smack the radio, or just wait until we go over another bump, then it comes back on. So driving over potholes is an acoustically jarring experience.

We also love Halloween, the Senior Center Rainbow Bingo, and the Swamp Bottom Jamboree. We’re into pretty much anything where you’re encouraged to wear a colorful wig. 

One islander loves the way a random post about a washing machine or a wallaby can generate so much discussion, with hundreds of comments that, if compiled into a document, would be the length of a novella. I guess it’s nice that we all feel comfortable enough with each other to lose an afternoon arguing about our bugbears. My favorite posts are where we share our encounters with the paranormal. Most everyone has had a paranormal experience here. It’s like an island rite of passage. I’m still waiting to have one, so if you know a friendly ghost or alien or whatever, please send them my way. 

Some love when it gets so windy you can surf in Colvos Passage. I personally prefer staying onshore. Have you noticed that the water is cold? It’s very cold. I would not go in it. But good on you if you do. 

And best of all is the ufo that crashed at the airport. 

Although we love so many peculiar details of island life, we had one complaint this week: ” There goes the view for the neighborhood.” It was accompanied by this picture:

I thought maybe there was a billboard I couldn’t see, or a stealth McDonalds. 

Turns out those baby trees will eventually grow into a glorious green copse, blocking the view of Mt. Rainier from Wax Orchard Road. (The said view is not featured in the picture due to the presence of the omnicloud, but you can go ahead and imagine what it would look like on the rare clear day.)

And for those who said they loved animals on the loose, we have great news! A black and white cat was seen near the Senior Center, and it may be Hunter, the elusive cat who escaped while on vacation to the island over the summer. 

I like how Hunter’s name is in scare quotes. It’s like a recognition of what T.S. Eliot pointed out in that insufferable poem about how all cats have three names, and a cat’s one true name is the one he calls himself.

This is great news, as we all assumed Hunter got eaten by a coyote. But miracles can happen, magic is real, and cats have nine lives. 

And speaking of everyday magic, there’s one last great thing about the island that we should mention. When you hear a loud bang, it’s rarely a truck backfiring or a gun going off. It’s someone celebrating the joy of being alive by setting off firecrackers in the parking lot behind the old Green Ginger. 

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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