Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 3/4/2022

Spring is in the air. The frogs are back. They’re singing directly below our windows. Some of us are camping out in our front yards so we can enjoy their songs all night, presumably at the expense of sleep. 

We have an account of one special frog: “I have a really loud little guy who serenades me. I haven’t ever seen him but I can tell he’s close. Sounds like he’s right outside my window. And I heard him throughout the winter too. He’s so loud I keep expecting to see him, but no. He just sounds like he’s the size of a beachball. ❤️ 🐸

I hope you someday meet your elusive beachball. 

Spring puts us in mind of music, and where better to hear music than the grocery store? Thriftway always plays the best classic rock from our childhoods. 

There’s nothing like bopping your head to a muzak rendition of a song you heard as a teenager in an underground (i.e. basement) venue when you are doing a price comparison of two brands of lactose-free milk. 

The grocery store isn’t the only place to hear classic tunes. Every time I’ve been into a bank in my adult life, Madonna’s greatest hits have played. I no longer see her as a style and culture icon, but rather associate her with poster boards advertising loan refinancing. 

We youngins are told we have not yet experienced the humiliation of growing older and wiser until we’ve heard the synthesized music of our teenage rebellion played in an elevator. 

I have no idea where one finds an elevator on island. 

But what do young folks think of the music at the grocery store? 

One islander tells us: “A 20 something year old working in the beer section at Thriftway was asking his coworker “what IS this song? It’s so weird..” It was Yellow Submarine 🤨

To be fair, Yellow Submarine is pretty weird. How do your friends live next door when you live in a submarine? Do they also live in a submarine? Is there a submarine village under the green sea? And they say they have all they need, including blue sky. HOW DO THEY SEE THE BLUE SKY FROM WITHIN THE SUBMARINE UNDER THE GREEN SEA? 

The lyrics that moved a generation

Spring is also a time when roosters get especially ornery.

We have word that Awful Earl the rooster will not be running for mayor. He is leaving his home for a new one, where he will lead 7 hens. We all congratulate him on his good fortune, though some of us plan on writing him in for mayor anyway. I’m not sure how that works when we vote by putting dollars in jars, but we’ll figure it out. 

The spring blossoms harken the arrival of our property tax bills.

Property taxes are high, and they are rising every year. According to the Beachcomber, property taxes rose by 8.3% this year and 11.5% last year.

The exemptions for seniors are difficult to navigate, and you have to be careful whether you are getting an exemption or a deferral, which would eventually have to get paid, either by you or by whomever inherits your house. 

Without new housing units added, and with a growing population, there’s a housing crunch that drives up property values. Also, in Washington, we have no income tax, which would allow for taxing wealthier people at a higher rate. Instead, we make up for the loss of money with property taxes and sales taxes. 

And you know who’s fault our regressive tax structure is? Commuter students. 

Finally, we propose a new ferry for the island to help alleviate the housing crisis. 

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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