Letters to the Editor

Opinion: Island’s serenity is something to brag about

By Harry Anderson

Allow me to introduce myself. After living in America for almost 65 years, I became a Rock dweller in 2009. And, like most of us on Whidbey, these days I rarely think about where I used to live.

I am too content to trouble my brain about traffic jams, long lines, noise and loud people. The frequent trips to America I expected to make when we moved here have become far between, consisting mostly of Costco trips when the toilet paper runs low.

I spent almost 40 years as an ink-stained wretch in daily journalism and public relations.

And I’m delighted that The Examiner is allowing me to prove, in this monthly space, that my aging fingers can still type.

“Rockin’ a Hard Place” will be my personal musings about life on Whidbey Island.  I’ll usually try to make this space as frisky as an off-leash dog at Double Bluff – and only occasionally as gnarly as a wind-stripped fir on West Beach.

One of things I like best about living on the Rock is that there is so little yelling here. Conversations seem so cordial, civil and polite. We do value courtesy, quiet and our peace of mind, thank you very much. You’ll never hear somebody scream out loud about Kelly Emerson, for instance.

We’ll save that for the letters to the editor.

And you’ll rarely hear people bellow about Navy jet noise, except for maybe when a jet’s directly overhead and you can’t be heard otherwise.

We’ll save that for a courthouse filing.

No, here on the Rock, about the only thing that raises a vocal decibel is the weather, about which we are all experts.

I was enjoying a decaf, non-fat latte at a local java emporium the other morning when I overhead two gentlemen of a certain age arguing vociferously over how long it has been since it rained.

“Two months if it’s been a day! I’ll lay you long odds!” one exclaimed, arms waving. “You’re nuts! It poured three weeks ago! Only lasted a few minutes, though. You probably slept through it!” the other responded, pointing a finger.

Such language! If they were still around, their mothers would wash out their mouths with soap. These boys need to decaffeinate or they may be banished from the Rock!

Some say that our sotto voce style here on the Rock derives from having so many residents of phlegmatic Scandinavian descent (which includes me).

Certainly, that old joke does apply. How many Swedes does it takes to summon the waiter? Answer: None. They’ll wait for the Italians at the next table to do it.

But I’d rather believe that the delightful peace, quiet and civility that permeates our Rock is simply the result of this: If you’ve lived in America, you know how noisy it has become. On the Rock, it’s still possible to hear ourselves think. Now isn’t that something to brag about? Quietly, of course.

That’s what I think. Your opinion is cordially invited. If it’s civil and polite.

Harry Anderson is resident of Coupeville and former journalist. His column “Rockin’ a Hard Place” will appear monthly in The Whidbey Examiner.


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