What People in Atlanta Say vs. What They Actually Mean
It’s not always easy to understand people who live in Atlanta. If we’re not using slang or an accent from wherever we’re actually from (only 14 people at any given time are truly from Atlanta), we’re saying something in a passive-aggressive manner, or we’re straight-up lying and hoping nobody notices. To help you avoid any miscommunication, here are a few key lines and phrases you’ve probably heard -- or said yourself -- in conversations around town, followed by simplified interpretations of what was really going on.
"Let's go eat at The Varsity."
Translation: I just moved here and have no idea where to go for dinner yet. There are too many options and I’m not good at making good decisions. But every time I ride MARTA it always tells me “Exit here for The Varsity,” and I guess I’m supposed to eat here until I die, which, according to how my GI tract feels and sounds, is later today. Please take me to the ER at Grady and push me out of your car while it’s rolling so you can keep moving without telling anybody how I got this way.
"I scheduled our meeting tomorrow at 9am."
Translation: I hate you. Otherwise, I would never ask you to brave Atlanta traffic during morning rush hour madness. It gives me tremendous joy that you will wake up at 6am, leave your house at 7am, and still be 10 minutes late even though you live less than 20 miles from where we are meeting.
"My parents marched with Dr. King."
Translation: I really hope my parents marched with Dr. King.
"I live just outside the perimeter."
Translation: I don’t technically live in Georgia.
"DJ, play some Future!"
Translation: DJ, play some Future! What? Future is great.
"Atlanta was so much more fun before they started closing everything early."
Translation: I’m not ready to go home at 3am, but I’m also clearly not old enough to remember how it was back in the late ‘90s, when Atlanta Live was open and before Ray Lewis pulled a From Dusk till Dawn at Cobalt Lounge. But I heard a lot about it.
"The pollen is bad when you first move here, but soon, you don't even notice it."
Translation: I may appear to be talking to you about pollen right now, but I am simply a figment of your imagination, as you are hallucinating from all the pollen you’ve inhaled.
"I started another business. It was time for something new, and this new project is going to make lots of money. Let’s collab!"
Translation: I’m in crippling debt, living on Saltine crackers, and one day away from becoming an escort.
"I miss the old Ponce de Leon."
Translation: I never spent money anywhere on Ponce de Leon until Ponce City Market opened, otherwise I would know that most of the businesses that were here before PCM are still around.
"Matty Ice is looking good this year!"
Translation: Matt Ryan is a handsome gentleman whose skin always glistens underneath the moonlight mist. His lavender v-neck T-shirts are always so crisp, yet so fluffy. His haircut is so perfect I thought it was a weave. Oh, you meant how he looks on the field when he’s playing quarterback? He’s like a porcelain vase somebody left in the middle of a rodeo. He’s doomed. Go Falcons!
"Sure, I can probably give you a lift to the airport tomorrow."
Translation: Don’t you know I live in Kirkwood? And don’t you know MARTA goes straight to the damn airport? And that there’s always free parking at the East Point and College Park stations? Do not call me for a ride. I won’t answer.
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