Island Peeves

Someone considering moving to Whidbey Island asked a key question; “what are the pet peeves of islanders?” (Thanks for the inspiration.) Let’s see, there are about 70,000 islanders, with evidently more on the way. Everyone has their own peeves. This could be a long list. Here’s a start of common comments. 

Commuters: On the south end, ferries, their lines, and particularly parking on the other side. Workarounds tend to be to use motorcycles or carpools or bicycles or walk across to a bus, all things that get you to the head of the line. On the north end, welcome to the bottleneck that is the impressive but narrow two lane bridge that crosses Deception Pass.

Shopping: On the south end, stores close early, have smaller selections, and can have higher prices. Workarounds tend to be mainland Costco runs (sometimes done in collaboration), trips to Oak Harbor where the big box stores live, relying on USPS/UPS/FedEX/DHL, or finding something similar and local, or doing without.

Small town gossip: Even if you don’t know someone, you know someone who knows them. Most people aren’t asking for attention, but if you want to be in the spotlight you can really be in the spotlight. It’s easy to stand out. That can mean great support, but it can also lead to gossip that’s hard to squelch, and people with long (sometimes inaccurate) memories.

Other people: While Whidbey can seem to fit one stereotype, there are many stereotypes. Each group is one, and labels others. Sometimes they clash. Liberals and libertarians, conservatives and conservationists, etc. The thing most don’t recognize is that they have something in common; except for those ordered to be here or born here, islanders decided to live on an island to live a lifestyle they like, and then find a way to make that happen. Very independent people, here.

Drivers: Take your pick, too fast or too slow. Even following the speed limit can make some think you’re going too slow or too fast. Two lane roads with few passing zones prolongs the frustrations. 


Weather: It rains. Or, it’s grey. Or, it isn’t like where you were before. Except that, depending on where you settle it might be sunny and dry, but then it is windy. Or, you might find yourself in places that are rainy and grey and windy; or… It’s a long island. There are lots of microclimates. Ask any gardener to find about frost pockets, seasonal water spots, or forests that shade gardens part of the year. 

November Dune

Birds and deer and whatever: Birds are cute and sweet; but geese poop on lawns, eagles swoop after pets and livestock. Bunnies munch much, and slugs slime their way through gardens. Want proof? Notice that the miles of fencing is protecting gardens. Bird netting above, deer fencing reaching high, and rodent fencing sunk into soil. 

If you want to ramp it up from pet peeves to controversies, well, that list can be just as long and the discussion that much more energetic: jet noise, development, financial inequalities, for a start.

Everyone has their own list, naturally. Also, for every person who has been here more than three years, they’ve probably found solutions for their peeves. You’re welcome to include your peeves and workarounds in the Comments below (which are moderated to keep things from becoming immoderate.)

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