Island life is supposed to be slow, so slow that some expect things to be dull. Not. Island life is not frantic, either, unless you want it to be. Island life confuses many people, particularly people who live full-speed lives driven by corporations, advertisements, and lots of peer pressure. It doesn’t have to be that way.
If island life was slow, say, half-speed, then trends that started in 1900 in The Big City, The Mainland, ‘Merica, would be over sixty years ahead of the island. The rest of the world lives in the realm of the internet and smartphones. Whidbey Island would barely be in the 60s introducing transistor radios. We’ve got the internet delivered via fiber optic cables, electric vehicles, solar panels, and remote whatever. Modern enough.
Ask most local entrepreneurs and realize that they’re busy. Retail shops keep owners occupied. Household chores don’t go away. Taxes have to be filled out and paid. The holidays have their demands. The seasons are delivered at the same schedule. Talk to an islander as if they are lazy and feel the temperature heat up or get very chilly – or maybe you just be ignored or dismissed.
Island Life is not slow, but it can be more relaxed.
Long-time islanders move to islands, or stay on them, because they know how they want to live. Islanders don’t all agree on politics and such, but many of them moved away from the expectations of others to live a life based on how they think a life should be lived. They live consciously, even if they don’t use that term.
Island life keeps up with trends, technologies, ideas, and the rest of the world; but island life can leave the expectations of the crowds, corporations, and advertisers on the other side of our moat.
Sure, we’re busy, but it seems easier to leave behind the peer pressures of following every bit of fashion. Carhartts and jeans are fine, especially if they are clean. The latest car may get a look, but a pickup truck that never leaves the island doesn’t need chrome, and a small car may be picked because it fits better on the ferry. If a show is being streamed, it gets here at the same time as it does in NYC, and if not, there’s probably an app for that. Give credit to USPS, UPS, Fedex, DHL, whoever delivers the goods to us rather than requiring us to deal with traffic and malls.
Island life can be more relaxed because we spend less time worrying about those things that are temporary. We may seem slow in our jeans and pickups, but many are also spending more time on things that matter to them. If that confuses mainlanders, well, shrugs happen.
During the holidays, some set off fireworks. Others, knew that the lowest tides of the year were around midnight, and a walk on the tideflats could be surreal and unique. (Just make sure you walk on the firm parts, though.) There aren’t as many movie theaters, but there’s a great supply of real theaters, watch parties, or maybe entertaining with friends by telling stories, beverages optional.
Islanders work hard, but also may close the shop for a few days or a few weeks. Fixing things around the house can be gratifying. Reading a book is a cheap treat. Sitting by a fire doesn’t require buffering, downloading an update, or subscribing to a service – unless it is for another cord of wood, and a cord of wood costs a lot less than season tickets to the Seahawks.
The time gets filled in both worlds, but filling time with what you want instead of what some advertisers want you to want sounds pretty good. It’s enough to make an islander wonder if the mainland will ever catch on and catch up. They can be so slow.