Simple Ways to Tell Louisville’s Locals and Transplants Apart

It’s easy to fall in love with a city like Louisville. Louisville’s charming and wonderful in a girl-next-door kind of way; it is the sort of city you want to settle down with. So it’s no wonder so many people have decided to make the ‘Ville their new home, while so many native Louisvillians have stayed put where they were born. Both parties would probably proudly say they’re “from Louisville,” but there are subtle differences between a real local and a transplant...

Transplants mean college when they ask, “Where did you go to school?”
Locals mean high school when they ask, “Where did you go to school?”

Transplants brag about Jennifer Lawrence.
Locals brag about Muhammad Ali.

Transplants go to the Derby.
Locals go to the Oaks.

Transplants try to tackle spaghetti junction and end up in Southern Indiana every. Damn. Time.
Locals eat spaghetti junction for dinner.

Transplants complain endlessly that people in Louisville don’t use their turn signals.
Locals do use turn signals. Just... judiciously. When it’s convenient. Sometimes.

Transplants reasonably expect to be able to avoid their ex indefinitely after a messy breakup.
Locals understand that Louisville itself is a vortex of small-town kismet and big-city serendipity that inevitably leads you to the same bar as your ex every single time. Locals sometimes part on good terms only because they must share custody of Hilltop Tavern.

Transplants foolishly underestimate the gravity of the Cards vs. Cats rivalry.
Locals don’t give it a second thought! ...Until the Cards and Cats actually get pitted against each other. Then it is SO ON.

Transplants get to the bar at 7pm.
Locals get to the shower at 7pm. Then start pre-gaming at 8pm. Because who needs to get to the bar before 11pm anyway? It starts getting good at midnight!

Transplants want to try that new restaurant, but will patiently wait a few weeks to visit until the fuss dies down and the wait for tables isn’t so long.
Locals are there iPhones blazing, hashtags ready, creating that fuss. New restaurants and bars in certain neighborhoods are guaranteed at least two months of insanity upon opening.

Transplants think that bottle of Maker’s Mark they got to HAND-DIP in wax on the distillery tour is pretty much as good as bourbon gets.
Locals know *when* their favored liquor store is getting Pappy Van Winkle, and *how many* bottles. And will even pay to enter a raffle to BUY those bottles.

Transplants wonder why so many older cars in Louisville have neon bumper stickers with peeled and faded lettering.
Locals remember buying records at ear X-tacy.

Transplants navigate with their smartphone.
Locals navigate using landmarks that don’t exist anymore (Toy Tiger, anyone?).

Transplants spend all summer sniffling, all autumn sneezing, and max out their allowance of Claritin before allergy season (aka the entire year) is through. And bitch about it.
Locals have a prescription for weapons-grade allergy medicine, from childhood, probably.

Transplants are surprised when Louisvillians cancel work, school, and events for a small flurry in the forecast.
Locals go straight to DEFCON 3 and ruthlessly raid the nearest Kroger for bread, milk, and dry goods if there’s a small flurry in the forecast.

Transplants apparently have real trouble pronouncing the name of the city correctly.
Locals say it with a touch of Southern twang, a hint of Eastern manners, and a little bit of sass in their britches.

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Elizabeth Myers is a Louisville writer who might not have been born in here, but certainly was bred here. Follow her on Twitter at @LouisvilleNoms.

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