By | Phil Santos
Do it well or don’t do it at all. That’s what I’m thinking everytime I go out for a slice of cheese pizza. This town has a surprising number of pizza joints (six), but they all have one thing in common: their cheese pizza game could use some work. With so many places to get pizza, why can’t my cheesy needs be met?
It’s my suspicion that this is because Arcata is a rural town. Most HSU students hail from urban areas, be it Los Angeles, San Diego or other metropolitan areas. As someone who has lived in LA and San Diego, I can say that one of the perks of city life is the range of choice you get. Finding a place that bakes a a top-tier slice of cheese pizza is a lot easier if there are more places to choose from. It seems like we have choices in Arcata, but it’s an illusion and you can’t get away from it. In a city, you can go somewhere else if you don’t like what you find. However, if you don’t like what you find in Arcata, you quickly realize that you’re six hours away from any well- established city. This is the rural trap that HSU students are stuck in.
Sometimes the cynical side of me wonders if this is why the pizza game in Arcata needs improvement. Is the pizza here subpar, because business owners recognize that HSU students have no other options but to buy their pizza? I doubt that’s the sole driver behind the issue in pizza quality, but I’m sure it’s a factor. Regardless, it doesn’t change the reality that we are residents in a rural area who are essentially confined to the limited choices offered by Arcata businesses.
What I would like to see change in Arcata is much in alignment with my opening statement. With understanding the need for price diversification, I’d like to see less pizza places and better quality pizza. I understand that some establishments wouldn’t be able to “do pizza” at all if they had to do it well. But I don’t think that justifies why several of them get to “do pizza” okay-iish.
Bill Withers once sang a song that might’ve been about this very issue where he says, “Just do what you do, and do it good.”