1. Even during the middle of December, the weather in this city is sometimes so warm and balmy that you could get away with wearing shorts and tee shirts around if you wanted. This is a convenient perk of global warming (sorry, Al Gore) that makes all your Northern friends jealous.
2. You have learned through trial and error that the Sunday morning brunch line for Highland Bakery (and every single brunch place on Sundays in this city) is going to extend out the front door and wrap around the block. Consequently, you only ever go there with friends whose conversation is stimulating enough to help you through a wait that could span upwards of two hours.
3. On more than one occasion, you’ve gone out in Midtown (shout-out to Whiskey Park, y’all) with the sole purpose of meeting one of the famous rappers — like Usher — who hang out there and improving your chances of becoming a Real Housewife of Atlanta. Sadly, this hasn’t happened…yet.
4. You’ve had at least one traumatic experience while riding MARTA — whether it was waiting for a bus that never showed up when you were trying to make a flight at Hartsfield-Jackson or realizing that the passenger sitting next to you quite literally smelled of shit.
5. Though you might briefly skim the Atlanta Journal Constitution whenever you chance upon a copy, you read Creative Loafing for “real” news.
6. True to its name, Sweetwater goes down more easily than water and tastes so good that the folk here feel more passionately about their favorite brew than they do much else.
7. The Falcons — the football team you have somewhat adopted as your own —may have failed to “rise up” this year, but you’re confident that they will soon start flapping their wings with furor once more. Right?
8. Atlanta has many restaurants that score well on the Zagat scale and cater to a variety of palates (Murphy’s or Leon’s, anyone?), but you know that the best spots are the gritty, hole-in-the-wall dives like the Indian restaurant that serves biryani so spicy that it burns your stomach lining but so delicious that you can’t help but scarf it down.
9. Speaking of food, people who’ve never tried Flying Biscuit or Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles have never truly lived.
10. There is only one right answer in the Great Pepsi vs. Coke (or Diet Coke) debate, and you wholeheartedly know which one it is. Last week, you went out to eat with your friend who was visiting from out of town, and you could only giggle to yourself when the waitress told her that, no, they did not serve Pepsi.
11. No one will know what you mean if you ask them for directions towards Peachtree Street because approximately 47 percent of the city’s streets are all called Peachtree.
12. Even though this seems like a totally cliché and somewhat touristy realization, you think that there are few sights prettier than the city’s Botanical Gardens during the holiday season.
13. One of the most exciting parts of living in Atlanta is discovering the unique personalities in each of its many, thriving neighborhoods — from East Atlanta, Little Five, and Edgewood to Candler Park, the Old Fourth Ward, and Decatur to Midtown, Buckhead, and Inman Park. You relish every opportunity you get to escape the bubble that is your comfort zone.
14. Most of the better-known bands that pass through Atlanta play at larger venues like the Tabernacle, Terminal West, or the Masquerade. However, you’ve realized that some of the smaller venues in town put on better shows. There’s nothing like a crowd of sweaty dudes earnestly moshing to punk music at the Drunken Unicorn or a night of Left Field Experiment beats at 529 to make you aware of the world outside StubHub.
15. Despite having lived here for almost four years already, you are still terrified every time you drive around the city. It’s not that Atlanta drivers are more reckless than drivers elsewhere. It’s not even that they are more aggressive. It’s that they have places to go, and they will make sure they get there in good time — even if it means cutting you off with no inhibitions.
16. Whenever an old friend or a new acquaintance suggests grabbing coffee, you take them to Java Monkey in Decatur during Sunday Open Mic Nights to watch beautiful people perform even more beautiful slam poetry. One day, before you pack up to call another city home, you will muster up the courage to climb onstage and perform, yourself.
17. You can’t reasonably call this city your own when your heart already belongs to others. However, you have slowly begun to fall in love with it — especially after exploring more of the lesser-known gems and hidden treasures it has to offer. When (that is, if) you leave, you know that you will come back frequently to visit. Atlanta possesses both the fast-paced, frenetic energy of a large, bustling metropolis as well as the easygoing, sweet-tea-and-biscuits charm of the South. You know you will miss it if you leave for too long.