You understand why “The Gump” describes Montgomery, AL so perfectly.
It’s a terribly hokey nickname for a state capital, but the truth is: it fits.
Montgomery may be the political epicenter of the state, but it’s not a big town. It’s homey, with a small downtown area dedicated mostly to civic culture. You won’t find much major commerce in the Gump. Most of that happens in Birmingham, about an hour north.
And yet, the Gump still charges for downtown parking. That should be a crime in and of itself.
You know that Hollywood never got the Dixie accent right.
It’s not for lack of trying, but the Alabama accent is a tricky lazy drawl that’s unique from a Texan or Carolina accent. Because of that, studio actors have a hard time getting it right. Even shows and films like “Hart of Dixie” and “Sweet Home Alabama” aren’t on point.
You know a little southern charm goes a long way.
When traveling outside the South, a little southern hospitality is disarming to the rest of the world. What you considered run-of-the-mill niceties back home might come off as over-the-top generosity in the midwest.
That doesn’t really matter, though. Everybody’s family where you come from, and you don’t see much of a problem with that in the first place.
Heat means nothing to you. You’re basically fireproof.
It’s going to be 98°F today with a heat index of 1000°. The humidity will be 300%, and the air is basically water. The mid afternoon thunderstorm that’s supposed to cool everything off will only add more water to the air, and ten minutes after it stops raining, it’ll still be hot — except now, it’s also muggy.
And that passes for normal for three seasons each year.
UA and Auburn have played a bigger role in your life than you’d like to admit, even if you never went to school there.
Aside from lifelong loyalty to a team (decided by familial lineage since before you were born), the Iron Bowl rivalry has been a major factor in your friendships, some of your family vacations, and definitely your clothing choice.
In high school, your team preference weighted heavily on your college decision making. Maybe you didn’t go to college at one of the big two. Doesn’t matter. That Big A or that tiger paw window sticker is on the back of your car anyway.
Hurricanes aren’t a huge deal.
Oh, a tropical storm is blowing in off the gulf? That’s a shame. The school isn’t closing, and you have to be at work at 10:00.
When Hurricane Georges parked itself in Mobile Bay after killing 600 people in the tropics, Alabama natives drove out to bay bridge to check it out. The hurricane had sucked all the water out of the bay, and remained stationary overhead for hours.
When Ivan crashed into the Gulf Coast, residents twenty miles inland turned on the generator and battened down the hatches. The Gulf Coast was destroyed, and 500,000 people lost power. Today, that area is completely rebuilt and life is about the same as it was before. The threat of a hurricane is always out there, but most Alabama residents have been through one of those before.
You’re not really sure what a house centipede or a silverfish is.
Cockroaches are the vermin of choice in this part of the world. There are so many that they crowd out the house centipedes and silverfish to the point that you’ve probably never seen one. But that big brown spot skittering up your wall? Yeah, you know what that is. And there’s never just one.
Time to bring out the Raid. Kill it quick before the little bastards start flying around the room. There’s a war on.
Confederate holidays are still a thing, and you’re already making plans.
Yeah, the South lost the war, but we still take a day off for Robert E. Lee’s birthday (shared with MLK day), Jefferson Davis’ Birthday, and Confederate Memorial Day. These are state holidays, by the way. As in, the government offices will be closed in celebration of these events.
The Confederacy may not rise again, but we’re not above taking a day or two off to kick back with some sweet tea.
Huge high school bands are the norm.
If you weren’t a high school band nerd, you probably knew one. High school bands in the south can climb into the hundreds with ease.
In rural parts of the state, the coverage area for single high school might span multiple counties. That’s a lot of room to make a lot of noise. Couple that with the fact that most other school-related extracurriculars in the south involve sports, and you’ve got a large portion of the student body who may be very interested in marching at halftime and during local parades.
You’re not too sure what the fried green tomatoes thing is all about.
They’re a southern staple, but not very common anywhere else. However, since you’re nestled into the heart of the deep South — and surrounded by other, Southern states — that might be news only delivered to you by travelers from foreign lands (e.g: Montana or the Dakotas).
The same goes for hushpuppies, but we won’t talk about those here.