Stage three: The I-feel-like-a-local stage
Where you’re living: Ponce City Market, Inman Park, or Virginia Highland. West Midtown was too expensive, so you moved to a more expensive area. You’re bleeding out your savings account, but so is everybody else.
Where you’re going out: Ponce City Market, Virginia-Highland, Krog Street Market, and Inman Quarter. Exclusively.
Your mantra: “ATL, shawty!”
Go-to activity: Explaining the difference between the beef jerkies you can buy at Ponce City Market, Inman Quarter, and Krog Street Market.
This is where you claim the city and act as if you were actually from Atlanta... like everybody else that's not really from Atlanta. There’s a younger version of you in town, and even though you’ve been here less than six months, you feel like a savant of the experience. Some of the sparkle has left your eyes though. You only derive pleasure from recreating the surprise that others felt when they first discovered The A. You’ll still casually date, whether that means courting romance, food, hipster bars, or shopping malls and boutique stores, but you’re no longer aroused. Why? Wait... Oh shit, it’s because...
Stage four: The OK-I'm-actually-a-local-now stage
Where you’re living: Kirkwood, Little Five Points, or maybe East Atlanta Village. You might even have bought a house in the West End. Maybe Decatur if you can find a nice woke neighborhood near Whole Foods.
Where you’re going out: East Atlanta Village bars like The Earl, Noni’s, The Sound Table, Music Room, Boulevard & Edgewood, Octane, and various coffee shops.
Your mantra: "Out here in the A"
Go-to activity: Attending neighborhood organization meetings, nodding. Saying things. Going out for drinks later. High-fiving Kwanza Hall when you run into him.
Something happens and you realize things aren't perfect in Atlanta. It could be falling for the local sports hype, which hahaha, c'mon! Dude/Girl, wake up! ATL is not a town for winning teams. Perhaps it's the inequality. Atlanta is doing poorly when it comes to beating national averages on things like income inequality. Or maybe it’s simply the traffic, which never makes sense because people always choose to be victims of whatever the car ahead of them is doing. If only folks remembered that the highways and intersections were made for people who want to arrive somewhere peacefully and precipitously, there’d be less bottlenecking on the fast lane on 400N.