Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 6/10/2022

An islander asks what restaurant we’d like to have on island. We’ve had this poll before, but we love talking about all the food we could have but don’t. As someone who didn’t have a functioning stove for the past two weeks, I can say, any hot food that hasn’t been microwaved is good food. 

Here is a word cloud of our answers: 

Which one of you monsters said McDonalds?

And here are our answers as a chart: 

One of these is not like the others. 

A few common themes are that we need a place that does fresh seafood. We live on an island, you should be able to swim up to a bar and eat homemade clam chowder. 

Loads of people want a laundromat, which is not technically a restaurant, but I would totally go to a laundromat and eat soap. 

We also need longer hours for restaurants. We want 24-hour diners, and a bar that’s still open after the last movie lets out. 

As a public service, I will inform you that the O Sole Mia bar stays open until 2 am, but after 9 pm, you have to access it from the back alley, like some night-crawling derelict.

Some people go for types of food, others for ambiance. A few people say we need breakfast, one islander says we need “sexy brunch.” What is sexy brunch? Is it a thing? When I googled “Sexy Brunch” I got a bunch of random links, like Oprah Winfrey’s sexy breakfast recipe (It’s a fried egg on top of tomatoes) and the address of a French Waffle shop in Seattle. Then I cleared my browser history. 

Another islander says we need, “Tomato soup made redder with the blood of tyrants?” And they ask it as a question, like they are unsure. Like maybe they’d rather have sushi, but they can’t decide. 

Then we talk about how hard it is to run a restaurant on Vashon due to the expense, and how we’re spoiled to have the restaurants we already have, and how we should be realistic and not dream big about having an Italian restaurant that serves everything but pizza or a swim-up steak and potatoes shop food truck that’s more of a boat than a truck. 

One islander suggests “a subsidy to assist our restaurants to purchase organic flour at the rate they can purchase glyphosate flour.” That would be a remarkably specific subsidy. 

Then we somehow get onto the topic of how many Vashonites can’t afford to eat out often, and how others are quite wealthy. Someone manages to take offense at this bland statement of fact. They say, “News flash: not all residents of Vashon are “high income.” I find that statement offensive. There are many salt of the earth folks on the island who bag your groceries, etc.” 

It’s fun to get recreationally angry, and yell at people who agree with you.

This conversation leads to island demographics, which are changing. One islander informs us,  “20 years ago the median age was 44. Now it’s closer to 54.”

Another islander responds, “If anyone knows how those 44 year olds managed to only age 10 years in the span of 20 actual years…PLEASE pass on their secrets!! 🙏😆

I guess if we want the island to stay the same forever, then we ourselves must cease changing and even cease aging. Our tastes must forever remain the same, in food, in music, and in the types of restaurants we wish to frequent but can’t because they don’t exist.

I’ve lost the thread of how this all ties back to fantasy restaurants, but we eventually make our way back to the theme, with this strange story: 

“To be frank, whenever a new restaurant opens, we are just hoping that whatever they serve is edible. By my count, it’s been edible about 70% of the time… But then once I found a metal shaving in my meal. A shred of stainless steel about 3/8 inch long. Seriously.”

Yesterday I had a conversation with an 11-year old about what is and is not edible. They claimed that everything was edible, just some things would kill you. I claimed that edible implied you could eat it and not die, and that edible was the opposite of poisonous. Anyway, if you find yourself as a restaurant owner getting sued for having rusty nails in your soup, I know a lawyer who could represent you. 

Speaking of Vashon never changing, we’re arguing about speed limits again. Just like old times!

“Why do people drive 30 miles an hour down Vashon highway?  Most of the time I really don’t have to get anywhere fast either but sometimes I do.”

When you’re late for a ferry, and you get stuck behind someone going the speed limit, then you miss the boat, and it’s definitely their fault for driving slowly and not your fault for being late. 

As one islander so succinctly puts it, “Everyone slower than me is a moron and everyone faster is a maniac. It’s all just morons and maniacs out there.”

Even more than speed limits, we love discussing who is and is not welcome on the island. One islander posts, “Why come to a rural community if you don’t want to be around animals, smoke from wood fires or the occasional sound of gun shots? Stay in the fucking suburbs where’s theres HOAs.”

One person responds, “Do y’all hunt out there, or are all the deer someone’s pets?”

Another answers, “my yard my pets!”

What could be more Vashon than claiming dominion over nature and ownership of the ground below and air above. 

Some of us are surprised there are HOAs on Vashon. Thank god I’m not in one. I would wrack up so many fines, especially for my chickens, who, although they technically live on my property, have free rein of the whole neighborhood. First thing in the morning they march straight to my neighbor’s yard and proceed to cut the grass. A few of them stop to lay eggs under his upturned wheelbarrow. Then they make a stop at my neighbor two doors down to get some popcorn. On their way home, they swing across the shared easement to dig for bugs by my other neighbors’ lawn ornamentation. 

Once in a while a hen will squeeze under the fence on the East side of the property and go broody on a bunch of eggs and then my neighbor feels compelled to protect them and build them a little coop and now half the island chickens are descended from my birds. 

I don’t even want to imagine how much a HOA would charge me for all that. 

Another example of people being very particular about what is and what isn’t Vashon: we have this from the rants group: “My neighbor is cutting his lawn with a gas mower.” 

There are some choice responses:  “Report him. Lawn cutting is verboten on Vashon except by registered goats.” 

And: “Goats are browsers (for brush) sheep are grazers (for lawns). We gotta’ keep our tools straight…”

And also: “Us folks who grew up pushing a mechanical mower appreciate gas engines. Must be an original Islander. We don’t get up tight about such things.”

Followed up by: “Real islanders cut grass with a scythe”

I thought the scythe thing was a joke, but people chime in to say that’s what their dads did, and that they put in lots of summer days grim-reapering the  blackberry brambles. 

Hey, maybe if they had a HOA, they could do something about the gas mower (besides talking to the neighbor directly.) 

I wouldn’t be the only one with trouble if there were a HOA. These two cows got loose and hung out in town. 

They’re pretty famous cows, on account of this lovely story: “I think these might be 2 of the ones that found their way to the Eagles a couple years ago during Snowmaggen. One if the best nights at the club! Cow, or should I say Moo-doggie hugs all around.💕🐂🐄🐃

Speaking of loose animals,  there was a loose dog on the road, right in front of his house, basically on his own lawn. He has made it home safely. 

But it’s not just dogs and ‘moo-doggies’ who get away. 

Vipp needed a lactating cat to nurse kittens who’d been “rescued”  away from their mother. We’re told in the comments that if you have a very chill male cat, he can nurse the babies. Although it’s rare for a male cat to lactate, islanders say that their male cat nursed two kittens. This was fascinating information, and I’m glad I learned it before the mother cat was captured and reunited with her babies. 

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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