Column: Bonedale — high stress under all that cool?
I must be missing something about Carbondale.
Since moving there, my wife and I have found ourselves saying things like, “This is the coolest town ever” as we walk back to our Main Street home from the Crystal Theater or a First Friday or a live music performance. We talk about the sophisticated yet laid-back vibe, the small-town friendliness and the quiet. I’ve been giddy about the easy access to great biking and running, the views of Mount Sopris, the crisp, blue skies.
So I was shocked Friday to learn that an outfit called Credit Donkey had named Carbondale the 10th most stressed-out city in Colorado.
Credit Ass does note the area’s great recreation, but says, “residents here need such outlets to unwind. They spend an average 32.6 percent of their monthly income on housing, which is higher than the norm … Aside from money woes, some residents might also be stressing over their romantic relationships. Carbondale is home to the highest percentage of divorced women on our list.”
Hmm. So we’re all broke. Maybe that’s because we spend an average of only 36.5 hours at the office each week and/or are too busy enjoying our outdoor playground.
It’s also possible that being divorced is less stressful than the marriage was and that the town feels welcoming to people in all stages of life.
Still, I could be overlooking warts. The average commute time for residents, the website says, is an absolutely urban 27 minutes. But I lived much of the past decade in downtown Detroit and Cincinnati, so I might be lulled by this Credit Donkey stat: Odds of being a victim of violent crime in Carbondale: 1 in 928.7 inhabitants.
Since I’m still in my first year in town, I thought I should ask longtime residents their reaction to the ranking.
Allyn Harvey, a town trustee, though, said he had “no time to reply. I’m too stressed out deciding which yoga studio I’m going to practice at today, which cool party or event I’m going to attend tonight, whether to go to Steve’s Guitars or Carbondale Beer Works for some great music, which ski area I’m going to visit on opening day. My commute, from the bedroom to my home office, has me frazzled as well.”
Mayor Stacy Bernot bristled.
“All in all this ‘study’ is off base and humorous,” she said by email. “The ‘facts’ are questionable, and are subjective at best. Maybe if this gets out, rich, available, law-abiding, people with time on their hands will move here and help out those overworked, stressed-out, single, commuters. Naw, I’d rather just keep Carbondale moving on the path it’s going because no faux study can undermine the awesomeness of Carbondale.”
She offered a few specific responses:
• “Cost of living — exceptional places are not cheap to live in, and while we are working hard at keeping our diversity, our community will not compromise our values in order to have unmitigated development.”
• “Carbondale is not immune to crime, however ‘1 out of 927.8’ is around seven people … seven!”
• On commute time: “Did they mean by car? Carbondale folks do commute, but not only by car, we take mass transit, bike, walk, skateboard, and when our neighbors move cattle, they commute by horseback.”
I tried to get some clarification from the ranking article’s author, Cassy Parker. She didn’t reply to my email. Since Credit Donkey is based in Pasadena, Calif., I can assume only that she was stuck in traffic. I hope it’s nothing worse, given that the crime rate in peaceful Pasadena is three times that of Carbondale’s.
It’s worth noting, too, that some Carbondale residents are fine with the black mark.
Will Grandbois, a native who covers the town for the PI, said, “If everybody knew how great Carbondale was, everybody would come to Carbondale and Carbondale would cease to be what it is.”
Randy Essex is editor of the Post Independent and irritated Grandbois by moving to the coolest town around.
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