only on vashon – the weekly rundown 9/10/21

This week we start with cats. Someone spotted an escaped black cat and, in an attempt to reunite the pet with the owner, posted a picture of the cat along with this caption: 

“Are you missing this creeper? Creepy ass black cat in my driveway, piss off freaky ghost.”

Apparently, these are fighting words. Some say that black cats are so maligned in our culture that people go out of their way to harm them. I’m sad to report, it’s true. The above post radicalized me, and I now fear black cats with a depth that approaches hatred. 

Seriously though, do black cats really have a bad reputation and get murdered by people who would otherwise not murder cats? Or is that an urban legend? Is it derogatory to call a cat spooky? Are the cats themselves offended?

I doubt it. Cats don’t bother themselves with people and their petty opinions. They are above all that. 

Sorry Aurora, someone on Facebook called you spooky and I must abide.

It turns out that many of us have black cats that have escaped and gone missing for months. (Probably because they shape-shifted into witches and are actively causing the climate apocalypse.) But at times these cats find their way home. As one islander said,  “My childhood cat took off for years and lived on dump rats, then came back when they covered over the landfill.” A truly heart-warming tale. 

The face of pure evil

How should someone deal with a nest of biting ants near her house? 

We’ve got some good suggestions: diatomaceous earth, pouring water on the nest, or using baking soda mixed with sugar. (The ants get confused, eat the wrong one and explode.) 

We had some hard-won advice, like don’t lie naked on top of the anthill to scare them. 

Others said you can move the ants with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. One islander recommends wearing nothing but rubber boots doused in vinegar when moving the nest.  (Why not pants? Why not a shirt? I feel like I need some clarification on this method.) The original poster invited volunteers to come move the nest, with the warning that the ants bite you, then follow you to your car, where they proceed to bite you more.

And still others said that ants are part of the ecosystem, should not be touched, and if they bother you, then you should move to a condo in Seattle. This solution was eye-opening for me, and I now plan on living in harmony with nature by getting bitten by mosquitoes until I die of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

A little vinegar oughta do the trick

Finally, we come to a joke post in which an islander pretending to be a food service worker wrote something along these lines, though not in exactly these words:

As a food service worker, I have a RIGHT to refuse to wash my hands after going to the bathroom! I can then smear my hands all over your chocolate pudding cake. I can use your fork to scrape under my nails before placing it down on your table, which I have profusely coughed on, because no one else’s survival shall get in the way of my BODILY AUTONOMY.

This is what we in the putting-words-in-order industry call “being sarcastic.” 

However, some people thought she was serious because, “you can’t make this up.” 

You can make it up, though! You can make up anything! There’s a whole Dr. Seuss book about it. He made up Beft That Only Go To The Left. At least the original poster made up a thing that is within the bounds of the known universe.

They all spit in your salad
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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