I have quite a few thoughts and questions brewing about Humboldt County right now. In the northern sector of the county, which community is the best to live in and why? I have lived in Eureka for 3 1/2 years and have come to realize it is not adequate. So I am faced with the decision of where to move my family. I thought the answer to this problem was quick and simple: since I work in Arcata, move there. But finding housing has proven far more difficult than I anticipated, since I am so very picky as to require washer/dryer hookups and to bring my cat.
While this house hunt stretches on into the summer, I have begun to analyze the various north county communities so much that I no longer know anything. Is Eureka as hopeless as I thought? Is Arcata really preferable? What about the other communities like Blue Lake, McKinleyville, Freshwater, and Fieldbrook? What are they really LIKE?
It is hard indeed to find the answers to these questions. Because the answer is, of course, "it depends." What it depends on in our case is this set of questions: are the streets safe, are the adults accountable, are the authorities honest, and is the rent affordable? And there a million little sub-questions, barely articulated questions like will the atmosphere foster a strong, successful boy with good self-esteem and self-control? What are the other kids like? Are they aiming for college or growing pot or just trying to survive?
I wish, I wish, I wish Eureka would be a better place, that I could return to my former state of ignorance about it. Now I just feel sad for all the teens I see trying to make a life here with the odds stacked against them. Maybe it would have been different if I could have afforded a house in a better part of town, the outlying areas perhaps like Ridgewood or out past the golf course.
How does one go about finding out about neighborhoods when the question, "What's it like?" means so many things to so many people? I was about to write that it took me 3 years to discover how bad Eureka is, but actually I recognized it immediately; I just thought I could counterbalance some of the ill influences of the city with my love and parenting. But when kids are teenagers, the environment is very, very influential.