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Three Out of Five Ain't Bad

I'm not a fan of our review culture. People base their ratings on irrelevant criteria, lots of ratings are fake, and items have so many ratings that they are useless because you'll find as many that say "this was amazing" as that say "this is a pile of garbage," so who are you supposed to believe? Some things that are rated - like books - are too subjective for ratings to make sense. I don't know these random online people and what they like to read and if they even recognize good writing. Why would I care about their ratings? 

But my biggest issue with ratings is the idea that anything less than five stars is not good. Five stars should be exceptional, and not everything can be exceptional because that goes against the meaning of the word. Three out of five should be the norm and people should be perfectly happy with that. It means your expectations were met, you got what you paid for, and everything was as it should be. But if you leave someone three stars on an AirBnB stay (the only rating system I participate in because I have to so I can use the platform), you can bet you'll hear from them wanting to know what went wrong. 

Well, I'm going to rate my current location, Redding, California as a solid three. This is, without question, the most vanilla place I've ever been. This town has every chain restaurant, every fast casual place, every big box retailer, every clean cut corporate business establishment known to America. Maximum predictability and ease, minimum culture and interest. 

It's the Truman Show. It's easy. You don't have to think here because you've seen it all before.

Which is probably exactly why people here like it.

weeping willow by a pond

Which is also why I'm happy to stay here for a month. Last month, I was in a quirky house in a quirky town of 150 people in the middle of nowhere Oregon. Next month, I'll be in a bare-bones house in a town of 500 in southwest Colorado. Right now, I'm in a lovely, upper-middle class subdivision with beautiful landscaping everywhere. I'm staying in a fully remodeled cottage with high-end fixtures, appliances, and furnishings. I'm going to the gym, and taking care of appointments and car maintenance. I've found a good group of people to go out for drinks with downtown, which, by the way, is always easy to find parking in, even on a Friday night. I've found someone to go to the lake with for paddleboarding and swimming, which is great since it's been triple digits almost my entire time here and not looking like it's going to get any cooler before I leave in two weeks.

two women sitting outside at a restaurant

I'm 5-10 minutes from everything I need and have quick access to all major highways. Redding has over 225 miles of trails in the immediate area, plus it's a great jumping off point for the Redwoods, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and the Mount Shasta region with the Trinity-Alps and the Shasta-Trinity National forests.

So, while there is nothing special about Redding, it's a solid three, which is not a bad rating. I do have a theory about why the city is so vanilla and reliant on corporate America to define it, but that will have to wait for another post.

view of a river running through a valley