Orcas is even at the best of times uniquely isolated, from vogues, fashions, social influence, and pressure. A small self-contained environment, definitely more insular than outgoing, a home for eccentrics, outcasts, runaways and general ne’er do wells. A place where dreams can be built and will flourish given the care, encouragement, and nourishment they require. San Juan County is of course a well-accepted money pit, somewhere you can never leave, even in the finite pine box, with more than you originally carried with you onto the inbound ferry. Inherently expensive, unquestioningly exclusive, the very epitome of a retirement community without need of gated enclosure, the rocky foreshore and a la carte menus being more than daunting enough to repel unsuited and impoverished invaders.
Upon my initial arrival in the islands I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the community open and welcoming. Mine own nation of island dwellers can oft appear intentionally stand-offish and wholly disinterested in interactions with newcomers, brusque in the extreme with strangers. Undoubtedly this represents an inherent streak of prejudice, more than explained, but never excused, by several thousand years of envious oversight at minimum and invasion at worst. I am quite happy to admit to and accept my moral and ethical shortcomings in this regard, and have happily been able to enlarge such regrettable foibles to include the ingestion of the spirit of a true Orcas resident, with all the inherent dislikes and avoidances of things having the vaguest smell or taste of that unfortunate god forsaken mainland to the east.
I view this absurd elitism as a cause for endless self-mimicry, rather as one might view the wearing of a false beard and outlandish costume at Halloween. Such prejudices and predispositions are after all wholly ridiculous, without one ounce of either validation or excuse. Laughter is in my uninformed and globally unimportant opinion the surest defense against displays of blatant boorishness or stupidity.
I cannot remember exactly when it was the world lost its sense of humor, which event or pronouncement in particular so soured the milk as to make the possibility of ever again producing good quality cheese totally unimaginable.
One day we all just universally stopped laughing, suggestions that but a day previously would have been utterly ridiculous, statements that should have simply produced howls of derisive laughter suddenly became matters for serous contemplation. Sometime, somewhere, a faceless automaton of singular ineptitude, took the rules of sense and sensibility and shook the scrolls so violently that the letters, words and sentences simply dropped off the parchment to lie haphazard and unreadable in an ugly pile upon the shag carpet, to be ground into nothingness beneath mechanized feet.
As Ken Dodd would oft remark, “Don’t misplace your tickle stick, missus.”