We Don't Recycle, and 9 Other Reasons Atlanta Is Not Seattle

No, we don't actually call it "Hotlanta."
It's nearing on two months since I left the Peach State in search of something less hot and more liberal. Since this is my first time to the Northwest, and the Atlanta Braves are in town to show the Mariners a thing or two about baseball, I figured I'd break down some of the major differences that are bound to pop up in a 2,647-mile drive.

10. ¿Desea queso?

A warm bowl of queso is practically a staple for Mexican restaurants in Georgia, but on my first day in Seattle the waitress thought I had completely lost it. "You're the first person to ever ask for that," she said. They had nachos, tacos, and burritos with queso on them . . . but a bowl with nothing but cheese? To dip a chip in? I brushed it off as an isolated incident, but I've been met with the same fiasco time after time. You're missing out, Seattle.

9. Growing a fro.

I'd love to know what kind of magical hair-cutting shears are being wielded in Seattle to warrant a $25 haircut. I don't think I've paid more than $12 for a haircut in Georgia my entire life . . . and that's with a tip!

8. Breath of fresh air.

The whole "smoking weed on the sidewalk" thing still blows my mind. In Atlanta, a man could be smoking a blunt next to a convicted serial killer and there would be an all-out riot to tackle and handcuff the pothead. Two days ago I watched a guy roll a joint while eating a slice of pizza at two in the afternoon.

7. No cluck for your buck.

The stereotype of Southern people watchin' Nascar, speaking slow, and sleeping with a gun beneath our pillows should be updated to include an unhealthy love for chicken. Chick-fil-A and Zaxby's are as natural as sunlight in Georgia, and I'm beginning to go through some serious withdrawals. I love Thai and Indian as much as the next person, but what about waffle fries, Polynesian sauce, and a breaded chicken sandwich? I'd give up coffee every day for a week for just a taste of Chick-fil-A.

6. Holy hell, you people love coffee.

Before I left Athens, Ga. (where I go to school), I was told Seattle could be summarized as two things: rain and coffee. There is no contest--the Braves have no idea what kind of geeked-up caffeine addicts they're up against. I walk two miles to work and pass five coffee shops . . . and that's just Starbucks!

5. No matter how sunny, there's always a chance of rain.

If the clouds are grey in Atlanta, it's going to rain. It's that simple. In Seattle, there's this nice little trick the sky plays where for seven hours it looks like there is about to be a downpour and not a single drop falls. Also, I hate the whining about it being "humid" here. If you want humidity, go to Georgia. You'll sweat just by sitting down.

4. "I'll polish in my deck flogger."

Maybe it's the fact there are 1 million coffee shops in Capitol Hill alone, or because there's a three-story thrift store a half mile from my house, but there are a LOT of hipsters in Seattle. They still make up the minority in Atlanta, so don't let them know what they're missing out on, or there's bound to be an uprising.

3. Meat, cheese, bread.

Seattle offers such a variety of nutritious options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thai, Indian, African, Mexican, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, vegan, and vegetarian--it's such an overwhelming selection. What's impressive, though, is the lack of fast food. Atlanta is dripping with fast food on every street corner. Since I've been here, a burger and fries has felt more like a treat and not a typical lunch. I wonder if it's a coincidence that people are so much thinner.

2. Save the Earth!

Georgia's representatives need to sit down and take a few notes on Seattle's green initiative. The city buses are hybrid, there is a plastic, paper, and compost bin next to almost every trash can (whether on the street or in a restaurant), and the boost to recycle and reuse is everywhere. In Atlanta, many neighborhoods and surrounding cities charge extra for picking up recyclables, which is why my family never took part when I was growing up. "Oh, you'd like to help the environment? Well, it'll cost you."

1. I turn on the heat . . . in the summer.

If I had spent my summer in Atlanta, I would have already racked up a couple hundred dollars' worth of air conditioning bills (but I also would have been swimming). In fact, here's the Atlanta forecast for this week: 91, 92, 91, 94, 95, 94. I haven't gone to bed once in the last month and a half without turning on the heat first. I carry a jacket with me every day to work. This is not summer weather.

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