About a week ago, I found myself aggressively defending what I now claim as “my city,” or when Nicholas and I are talking, “our city.” I was on a “work with” for my new job with Gordon Food Service, and was ecstatic to be riding with a 10+ year employee, a Florida transplant as of this past summer. I didn’t realize how fascinated I am by Atlanta and how proud I am to live here, until I found myself defending nearly everything about my “town.”
Yes, you have to lock your doors, even when you’re in the car…I even buckle in my purse, just in case.
I know that the traffic is obscene…but I’ve learned to plan my day around traffic and actually don’t mind my “windshield time,” as I can catch up with distance friends, enjoy NPR or sing along (badly) to classic country on my commute. Plus, doesn’t the excess of people and congestion just prove that this is the place to be? 🙂
We have seasons, (unlike my colleague’s preference for summer year round) and while the seasonal temps are a bit bi-polar at times, the cooler air allows for a wardrobe change and an extra skip in my step as the crispness feels fresh and new. And, cold weather is cuddle-weather, fireplaces, and hot chocolate. Even better. Our seasons are perfect, because it never gets too cold for too long, like it does where my family is in the Midwest—it’s never so cold that your nose hairs freeze or your skin cracks. Now that’s a win.
Yes, we have rain. Glorious rain. And the rainy days are my favorite. I don’t mind limp hair and puddles in my drainage-challenged driveway. It hydrates my soul and the pitter-patter is soothing. There is no better sleep than windows open with chilly air and the sound of a downpour.
I admit we have many “transitional” areas—there’s a rich history here, and neighborhoods that haven’t quite won the battles of the past. The graffiti/art covers the walls of many buildings and tunnels, and some call it “garbage,” but I think it’s fantastic.
The niches of my city are full of eclectic characters—it’s not the all white suburbia of some folks’ choice, but a multi-cultural collection of interesting people, perfect to sit and google-eye from a park bench. There’s nothing like a trek to East Atlanta, just a mile up the street, to make me feel comfortable in my own skin. No one gawks or judges (except maybe me still gawking from the park bench), because there’s no single appropriate style, mode of transportation, or acceptable hair color. You’ll see a businessman on a bike, a 50-something on her Vespa, and the punk hair stylist on his skateboard. It’s anything goes, and that is a beautiful thing.
I love that it’s hard to find a chain restaurant (besides fast food, if you call that a restaurant) within driving distance, and that the boutiques are making a comeback in our need to “shop local” and continue to give Wal-mart and Target a run for their money. (Pun intended.)
While I know that my Floridian colleague is just merely adjusting to a new locale, I’m pretty sure I made his ears bleed with the laundry list of reasons to love Atlanta. I don’t plan on convincing him, but as my Atlanta “love-list” mentally expanded on the way home, I found myself so grateful to feel this way about a place that not only holds a good piece of our past already, but a fully vested present and an inevitable future.