only on vashon – the weekly rundown 9/24/21

Food trucks are coming to a parking lot in Burton in the spring of 2022, and we’ve been asked to weigh in on what foods we want.

So far we’ve suggested every possible food imaginable. 

But why Burton? It’s on the bus route, and there is a covered bus shelter there. We’ve been assured that tourists will take a ferry and then a bus to get to Burton, provided there is enough road signage. 

Others suggest, what if, instead of food trucks in Burton, we get a coffee truck on Maury. This is not exactly the feedback the organizers were looking for, but it’s a seriously good idea. It beats my previous retirement plan, which was to move to Brooklyn, NY and create a bakery that only sells maple bars. I’d call it West Coast Bakery. 

Washington State Ferries is creating a new  line-cutting educational campaign.

Lovely layout. But what does 🚙 ? 🚙 mean?

I’m honestly not sure how an education campaign would work. Does it involve photographing line-cutters with tickets and posting their images in the ferries on a wall of shame? Do we roll informational pamphlets up and shove them in their gas tanks?

Dear god, we’re doing speed limits again. 

One islander posted that, with tourists gone, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the slow drivers on Vashon Highway. 

We have the same ontological debate every few weeks. What are speed limits? Are they an upper limit? Are they the exact speed you should go? Do they represent the median of a range of possible speeds? The lower bound of a range? Is it legal to drive below the speed limit? How much above it can you legally go?  I can’t believe I had to spend minutes of my one and only life on this Earth to research the answer to these questions. 

Here is the relevant law: 

RCW 46.61.425 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic

 Now we just need to agree on the definitions of “normal” and “reasonable.”

What could this sign mean?
It’s unclear, deeply mysterious, and thus open to interpretation.

One issue is that the speed limit changes a number of times along the highway. Those changes drive us so bananas that some of us are considering secession from King County. Then we will, as a community, choose what the speed limits should be all over the island, which I’m sure we can peaceably agree on. 

Others suggest we join Kitsap County and finally build that bridge to Southworth we all want. 

So we eventually come to the conclusion that the speed limit is the suggested speed in ideal driving conditions, and if you need to drive significantly under it, you should pull aside. You’d think we’d be done with the discussion once we established this. But no. We’re just getting started. 

Some of us needed to point out that driving quickly is unsafe, or, as one islander put it, “I wish someone would strap you to the hood of your car for one of your commutes like an Aztec sacrifice so you could get a better feeling for just how fast you are moving.” I’m pretty sure this is not something people did in ancient Mesoamerica, but my history is a bit rusty.

One long-time islander said it was offensive to assume a slow driver is likely a tourist when it may be someone with deep island routes. We spent some time expounding on our island credentials.   

Deep in the thread we learned that Disney’s Bambi was a male deer. I’m more excited to learn this than to learn the nuances of RCW 46.61.425 (1).

After things got pretty heated, and the original poster had to take a lot of flak for things other people imagined he’d said, his mom weighed in with loving encouragement of her son and acknowledgment of people’s frustrations of both speedy drivers and slow drivers. She ended with beautiful advice, to which her son responded “Love you mom. You’re right, as always.” 

I think we need her to comment on every post to put us all in the right frame of mind and teach us all kindness and manners. 

Now, you would think the wisdom and love of a mother would put this thread to rest, but no. We just kept going.  We accused wild animals of having poor judgement for going into the road.

We told stories of our own driving incidents. One person admitted to slowing down far below the speed limit because someone was tailing him, causing the driver behind him to throw up his hands and swear. (How did he know the driver was swearing? Was he watching his rearview mirror intently the whole time?) Some of us chided him for being a jerk and inciting road rage, which led to this stunning comment: “Way to be road rage apologists.” 

We end the thread with another great piece of advice. An islander imparts her grandmother’s wisdom on what to do if someone is driving slowly in front of you. “Imagine they have a goldfish in a bowl on the passenger seat.” 

Finally, Camp Sealth turns 100 this year! They’re having a celebration on October 2.

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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