Moving to Arcata felt like a bold change. But it was daring and fun. The last time I had made such a move was 1998. I didn’t know anyone in Arcata. And in 1998 when I moved to Portland I knew no one. But at least I had school. And soon I hoped to find a job.
I remember the first days of orientation. When I am in a new group of people I do a set of things. One is I try not to talk about myself. I’ve had bad reactions from new people. Maybe bad isn’t the right term. But when people find you’ve traveled they treat you different. There is an idea you might be different.
I guess one example would be when I went home to the mountains. This was a few years before I moved to Arcata. I was with Mother and at her friend’s house. I’d been listening and paying attention passively. But at some point her friend said, “I guess you think you’re special since you’ve been to all these places.” This has never been true. I’ve never gone anywhere which made me a different person. Never lived anywhere which changed me. Even Yosemite. I’d always been a person who loved nature. And this part of myself grew while in the park. But it wasn’t a change.
So, I try to avoid myself as a topic. Besides I am much more curious about others. And you only find out about others if you listen. This relates to the problem above. If people feel like you are different they may not want to share. They may feel like you’ve seen so much and you don’t want to listen. But this isn’t true for me. I love to listen to the stories people tell. This is one of the things I love the most about news.
The only person I recall from orientation a cute girl named Monique. She was an odd one though. We are still friends today. Her role was to help new people get to know the school. And the help them feel comfortable. She did her role well. I always felt comfortable with her. During my years at Humboldt we were good friends. And I miss talking to her often. But she was set in her ways. We didn’t live far apart and I recall a debate about the best way to walk to school. Well, there was her way and the wrong way. I usually took the wrong way. But if I wanted to walk with her I had to take her way. Maybe I was set in my ideas too. Soon after I met her, she laid out a plan for her life. The age of her wedding was set. The ages of her first and second children also set. And I smiled. Because it was perfect. And she found out life isn’t perfect. Thinking about her now I wonder if I took her friendship at the time for granted. I’ve done this before.
The experience of school will be a chapter of its own. But I loved my time at Humboldt State.
Living with Rose was curious. And while she was an amazing woman, it didn’t last. After a couple months events pushed us apart. I was focused on classes and work. While there was a point I had thought we could be more than friends. Many things were happening which made it feel like it wasn’t an option. The apartment we rented was from a management company. So when it came time to move I called and asked what they had to rent. Looking for places in Arcata isn’t easy. Like many college towns there are few places and many faces. In the end I posted an ad looking for a roommate. I knew the company would rent to me if I could find a roommate. It worked. And I moved to a new apartment. Rose and I stayed friends and spent time together after I moved. But she was dealing with her own issues at the time. We are still friends today.
The new apartment was a better place. It was closer to school and work. We moved in during the winter. My roommate got a job at the same store I worked at in town. It was one of the local health food stores. Working at Wildberries was something I enjoyed. In an odd way, the only job I can compare it too is working at Walmart. I worked hard, I was dependable and I did a good job. Until things changed and they let me go. In the future I’ll talk more about work. But while some of it was an immature attitude on my part. It is also true I believe I had real concerns. The biggest of which was my own health. And losing the job cost me dearly. But in the end it was better for me. The next job I took was with Long’s Drugs. It is a funny story because they were hiring for overnights. And I applied for the job. But before I got it I went in to talk to them. I’d told them I changed my mind because of the shift. I didn’t think I could do school and over-nights. They told me they’d hire me anyway.
The town of Arcata is a neat place. It took me a while to get into the community. But it is one of the places I wish I could be forever. While I lived there I never owned a car. While there are buses. It is also small enough to walk basically everywhere. At the center of the town is The Plaza. Around the plaza was a couple bars where locals and students drank. In the years I lived in Arcata I went into the bars less than ten times.
But having lived in Yosemite it was the parks I loved. It has a community forest with miles of trails. And some of my first memories are of hiking in the woods. I did this often for the years I lived in Arcata. But there was also a marsh. It sat along side the bay, and just south of town. Both the marsh and the forest were within walking distance of the center of town. I did a lot of walking. Most of it alone.
I got the job at Wildberries soon after getting to Arcata. It was the summer, and one year later I lost the job. It didn’t help my roommate also moved out during the summer. I guess I am a poor roommate. Because my next roommate also moved out over the summer. Though in her case it was in part due to wanting to live with a boyfriend. They had met and I allowed him to stay with us. But I didn’t date anyone in Arcata. There was one date with a girl. But it felt so awkward. Women make me feel more and more awkward the older I get. After the first date we didn’t even talk. Another woman told me we wouldn’t be a good match because of my blog at the time. I was going through a time when I focused on celebrity gossip a lot. I remember the day Lindsay Lohan crashed her car. I spent the whole day online reading and blogging. Looking back I feel it was silly. But also a silly reason to not even want to meet someone. I also miss being so active with news and blogging. Even if it was just celebrity news and gossip.
There wasn’t much of a break between the two times I lived in Arcata. But the tone of each period was different. During the first period I was in school. I was focused and working and had little time or concern for much else. There were moments when I was deeply lonely. Even though I had good people around me. It is part of my nature not to be open with people. And I think this makes it harder for me to create bonds with others. The kind of bonds where you call someone just to talk about a bad day. It was school and work which kept me moving. And distracted.
Most of the friends I have on Facebook are from this time. Mostly because I this is when I got on the site. It had been the case before where you had to use a real name. And until recently I’ve never used my real name online. I had been using the internet for years. Even since I was at Bethany. And the common practice on most sites was to use a handle – not a real name. I also think college is a unique space. One easy for friendship. And Humboldt is a small college.
I’ve now been on Facebook for a number of years. And have added more friends. A good number from my first years in college. And I have only un-friended four people. Three of them being people who were too close to me. One was a pervert.
When it came time to leave Arcata I gave away most of my things. I had bought the car I still own. Moving to Wyoming would be a big move. Taking a lot of stuff with me wasn’t an option. I packed as much as I could into the car. Then after making a stop in Stockton and Santa Cruz left the state. The car was a rolling brick.