American by birth; Atlantan by choice.
What genius gave me access to this thing? Look out now! My name is Sarah and I’ve been an Atlanta resident for about 4 years. I was born in Tallahassee, FL, and spent most of my life in southwest Georgia. From da woods to da ‘hood, y’all. I’m a bit delayed in making a post, but now I’m going to make up for it.
So, I have recently returned to the dirty south after spending a week in the frozen north; more specifically, Boston. Anytime I grow weary of Atlanta– be it due to the combination of soul-crushing heat and lung-crushing pollen, or the never ending traffic jams– traveling out of state always makes me appreciate Atlanta more.
Yes, Boston’s public transit would kick MARTA’s ass in a cage fight. But public transit in Boston is actually boring. Efficient, but not as entertaining. People just sit on the train and stare blankly, either at a newpaper, cell phone, or inside their coffee (maybe they are reading the grounds and trying to predict the future– who knows!). On the other hand, one of my favorite pastimes is taking out-of-town friends on MARTA because it seems like that’s when all the good stuff happens. People break out into spontaneous rap battles. Random dudes start preaching about the apocalypse and how we’re living in the End Times. Bums regale me with elaborate stories in an attempt to coerce a dolla’ dolla’ bill from my pocket.
And speaking of panhandlers; I think if you can deal with them in Atlanta, other cities are no problem. They are passive by comparison. Our bums are the stuff of legends.
The drinking establishments in Boston are way too homogenized and sanitary. I understand that smoking is uncool (I’ve never been one of the cool kids) but what else is a bar supposed to be if not a safe haven for people with vices? I have yet to find a northern equivalent to the Earl, El Myr, or MJQ, and that’s because I don’t think they exist. Part of the atmosphere of dive bars is that you leave feeling like a toilet and smelling like an ashtray. Sure, there are a lot of great non-smoking bars in Atlanta, but I like that we have options. In Boston, there’s no option, except to stand outside and suck on your nicotine stick in the snow. Amurrica is about FREEDOM! And that means the freedom to pollute my body as I see fit, dang it.
On the other hand, they do allow alcohol sales on Sundays, so… you win this round, yankees.
We also don’t have an Atlanta equivalent to the Harvard Douche. The worst you might encounter is a particularly intoxicated Tech student. (But at least they will fix your computer in exchange for a 12-pack of Natty Light.)
Probably the biggest thing I noticed is how people in Atlanta are much friendlier to tourists. Maybe it’s the Southern hospitality, or maybe people here are just tired of the entire South being stereotyped as backwards, so we’re enthusiastic about showing that Atlanta does indeed contain culture and history (well, the parts Sherman didn’t burn during the War of Northern Aggression). But mainly I think it’s because we actually feel bad when people visit here, given that the urban sprawl is atrocious, the highways are deadly (at best), the surface roads are all named Peachtree, most of the cool stuff is inaccessible by train and the bus routes make no sense. We want to help out tourists, not shun them. People in Boston, on the other hand… not so much. There is a disdain for tourists that floats in the air so thickly, it’s almost palpable. And I’m not just talking about the fanny-pack-wearing, “I’m going to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and block the flow of pedestrians so I can get a new Facebook picture in front of this old building” types of tourists. They seem to dislike anybody who might want to see (and, gasp, photograph!) some historical sites.
Also, Boston accents are not sexy. If I had to hear another person say “lobstah chowdah” I might have jumped off the Charles River Bridge. I’ll take a drawl any day!
Yep, I’m glad to be home.