You find the lack of camouflage pickups disheartening.

They’re a staple of your native homeland, just like cattle and cotton. If you haven’t seen a lifted pickup wearing a coat of camouflage spray paint, a spotlight, and a roll cage, you’re definitely not roaming the Alabama heartland.

The local sweet tea begins to taste okay.

There’s sweet tea, and there’s Alabama sweet tea. If the sweet tea from the local eatery is starting to taste okay, you might want to look at flights to Birmingham or Montgomery STAT.

You haven’t been in a really good thunderstorm in quite a while.

While Alabama weather can pack a punch, there’s nothing like a true southern thunderstorm roundabout midday. There’s a particular stillness right before the weather turns violent, when the sky turns black and green. When the birds stop chirping and nature settles down, you know it’s going to be a proper storm.

An Alabama accent starts to sound a little strange.

If you’ve been away from Alabama for a while, someone has probably noticed your accent. A few people have probably tried (badly) to imitate it. But when you talk to your friends and family back home and their accent starts to sound out of place, that’s when you know you’ve crossed a line somewhere.

You haven’t used the AC in a long while.

There’s a point in the middle of an Alabama summer where an AC unit is an absolute must in the summer unless you want to start getting a little freaky. If you’re not feeling the burn when you’re out mowing the lawn or going for a jog, you might be counting your blessings. But the truth is: you’ll never experience the glory of walking into an air-conditioned 72 degree home on a 95+ degree day. Feels like heaven.

You catch yourself whistling “Sweet Home Alabama”.

You don’t even like that song and you’re whistling it anyway.

You’re only catching the Iron Bowl as a highlight reel.

Sure, everybody gets busy, but the Iron Bowl is a tradition like no other. It’s a huge rivalry, and it’s broadcast nationwide — and you’re watching the biggest sporting event in your state (and the entire Southeast) through a highlight reel? Ouch.

Everybody thinks you’re “so nice” when you’re just being polite.

Manners, people. Just because I politely disagreed with you doesn’t mean that we agree! The fact that you heard any objection at all means that I’m quite flustered, but hospitality dictates that I treat you with respect while we hash out our differences instead of just calling you an idiot and being done with it.

The lack of religious buildings is unsettling.

You haven’t seen a church on every street corner, or taking up several city blocks at once like you did back home. That’s a little off putting, even if you’re not a religious Alabamian in the first place.

Nothing has tried to kill you lately.

Between the hurricanes, the tornadoes, the bugs, the snakes, the spiders, the alligators, the heat, and the stray bullets, the fact that you feel mostly safe while walking around outside is a clear sign that Alabama is calling. If you ever go home again, be ready for the jungle to welcome you back.

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