To the editor:
I’m writing this as a Whidbey Island “ex-pat.” In September I moved from Whidbey back to “America” to be close to family. I’d lived on the island for seven years and had not been off the island for six except the occasional trip north over Deception Pass Bridge.
Life on the island was great for me, and I had no burning desire to get off to shop or for entertainment or any other reason. It was kind of like Garrison Keillor’s “Pretty Good Grocery.” If we didn’t have it on the island, I probably didn’t need it.
Over those seven years, I read and heard many complaints about riding the ferry, trying to park, the long commutes and the apparent shock of new residents who learned that it was not an easy thing to live on the island and get to work on the mainland every day. Frankly, I found it tiring and boring to listen to all this.
I also found it tiring and boring to take the ferry several times the six weeks before my move while I was making arrangements for my new life. As I sat in the lines and endured the traffic south I reminded myself that commuting would never be the life for me.
People have many choices about where to live, and it seems to me that too many people on the island want to have it all —- to live on Whidbey Island (much to be desired) and to hold onto good jobs elsewhere (also to be desired), but don’t want to give up anything to have it. The entitlement syndrome.
Friends, in my long years of experience, this is just not the way it works.
I still read all three of the Whidbey newspapers every day because I have many friends there and will always have a place in my heart for beautiful Whidbey. I like to know whose kids are scoring in the ball games and what’s happening at WICA or what’s showing at the Clyde. That part is fun.
But I also see that the same old complaints are coming in about taking the ferry, how inconvenient it is, all the problems. One person in today’s story said she’d just moved to the island and was now finding the commute very difficult and doesn’t know what to do about it.
So I have a few questions for her and the others who continue to complain: Did you even think about this before you made the choice to move to Whidbey Island? Did you brush off the reality of commuting from an island as if it would magically change for you? And, more to the point, Who do you think should make it better for you?
Apparently people who live on the island and complain about the hassles of commuting are expecting somebody other than themselves to do the fixing.
Personally, I’d hate that commute. When I worked in Seattle and then Bellevue, I wanted to live as close to my job as possible. This is not for everybody and I know that. But as I said, we all have choices. What too many folks don’t like to acknowledge is that along with our choices comes the responsibility to live with them. Nobody else is responsible for solving the problems we choose for ourselves.
Molly Larson Cook