1. You’re definitely not a redneck.
The Atlanta area has a population of over 5 million people, including the third highest LGBT population per capita in the United States. Our residents include large concentrations Korean, Latin American and Middle Eastern communities. You can get pho that tastes straight out of the stalls of a Hanoi market or kimchi alongside huevos rancheros at one place: Buford Highway.
2. You have a MARTA Breeze card, but only use it for games and concerts.
Atlantans freely admit that we have a terrible public transportation system, and that blue plastic card is little more than a space saver in our wallets. MARTA doesn’t cover most of the metro area, and where it does it’s not reliable. But there’s no better way to get to a Braves game or concert in Piedmont Park.
3. You know “Coke” means nearly any type of soda, and “tea” is always cold and sweet.
Atlanta is the land of Coca Cola; it was originally created here. If we’re thirsty for a Sprite or Mountain Dew, we really have to be specific. Pepsi is an absolute no-go.
Sweet tea was also pretty much perfected here, and should always be served ice cold and full of sugar. The most refreshing thing we can drink on a blistering summer day in Atlanta is a Styrofoam cup of Chick-fil-A sweet tea, or a Coke.
4. You can tell the difference between someone who’s from OTP vs. ITP.
The city is made up of “ITP” and “OTP,” which describe whether your part of town is inside the I-285 loop (“the Perimeter”) or outside it. OTP usually means the suburbs of Cobb or Dekalb counties, and the ITP crowd want it known that they’re the “real” Atlanta. You may also make friends depending on if they’re OTP or ITP, because sometimes the traffic isn’t worth the relationship.
5. You know what “scattered,” “smothered,” and “covered” means, and know the answer to “What’ll ya have.”
Atlanta has its own lingo for ordering at places like Waffle House and the Varsity. At WaHo, you’ll want your hashbrowns scattered on the griddle, smothered in cheese, and covered with onions, peppers, and anything else you can imagine. Over at the Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in, you’ll immediately be bombarded with the question, “What’ll ya have.” There’s only one real answer: a frosted orange, and a chili dog.
6. You don’t want to talk about Michael Vick, Super Bowl XXXIII, John Rocker, or anything about the Thrashers.
We’re fiercely proud of our sports teams, specifically the Braves, Hawks, and Falcons. They’re great at having a strong season, only to choke at the last minute. But every new season brings back our naive hope and memories of the 1995 World Series.
And yeah, we don’t really mention Michael Vick, or John Rocker, the infamously racist / homophobic pitcher who caused controversy in a Sports Illustrated article about his experiences in New York City. And then there’s Super Bowl XXXIII, when the Falcons had a chance at glory and blew it. We should have known better than to bother with the Thrashers, our former hockey team that has relocated to Canada.
7. You identify “Church” as a bar, not a house of worship.
One of the Old Fourth Ward’s most bizarre bars is Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium, called “Church” for short. Inside this odd spot, we’re used to seeing borderline offensive artwork created by the owner, people wearing choir robes while playing ping pong, taking a seat on a pew drinking a tallboy of PBR, or scouting out celebrities like Jessica Alba, who has been spotted here.
8. You lived through Snowpocolypse 2014, Snowpocolypse 2010, the 2009 floods, or the downtown tornado of 2008.
Our weather involves many bizarre acts of God. Not only do we not know what to do with snow and are completely unprepared for even a dusting, but anything bad that can happen will happen here. Ice coating the roads, floods causing rivers to overflow all over the city, and a tornado striking just the downtown area? It’s amazing we get any visitors here at all.
9. You have everything you need to “shoot the Hooch.”
The Chattahoochee River, affectionately named “the Hooch,” runs through the city and is a great place to cool off in the summertime. Just get yourself a few inner tubes, a cooler full of canned Sweetwater 420s rigged to foam “noodles,” and some friends for the full experience.
10. You get to the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest in the world and can be difficult to navigate, even for short flights. Security lines can be long, and if you think you can make a connecting flight from two different sides of the airport, think again.