He: “Where are you from?”
He: “No! What? Really?” Wild-eyed, as if I’d said “I hail from the ex-planet Pluto, may it revolve in peace.”
The transplant, from any point on Google Earth, inevitably replies:
“An Atlanta native? You’re the only one.” As if prior to the influx, Atlanta was a distant uninhabitable planet, like poor Pluto, R.I.P.
I was born during the Eisenhower administration, when Atlanta was a sleepy village of less than 500,000. I don’t know the exact number, but why bother to fact check? Aren’t conjecture and speculation the bloggers’ birthright?
The Sixties: Atlanta grew into “The City to Busy to Hate.” Question the annihilation of hate here, but never doubt that Atlanta got BUSY! Building and booming – dreams of Regional HQ’s and international status dancing in boosters’ heads. 50 years later – “be careful what you wish for.”
That first spurt – waiting in awe as the Darlington Apartments flipped to one – then two million thrilled us. A real city, skyscrapers and everything!
The Eighties – “HOT-LANTA” hit the nation’s radar as a cool and HOT new party destination.
The Nineties – “Decade of Doom” – 100,000 people moved here in each year from 1990 to 2000. Thus began the downward spiral that altered a quality of life only natives of a certain age remember.
Growth, like greed, is good. The 1996 Olympics spruced up downtown, like Scarlett O’Hara improvising a gown out of green drapes to impress Rhett Butler. The Games gave us Centennial Park and an Olympic Stadium, later halved as the home of the Braves. Now, in the spirit of “tear down, build up,” a secret deal, unbeknownst to city government, will build another new Braves stadium. In Marietta!
Today’s “ATL,” of over six million souls, sprawls in gridlock, its road-raged motorists rivaling any U.S. city. Traffic is its calling card, but the ATL is also a sports mecca, with strip clubs galore for post-game R&R.
How did this happen?
As strangers in our hometown, endangered natives are seen as a dwindling freak show of Dukes of Hazard rednecks or Cadaverous Scarlett O’Haras.
I propose this:
Apply for separate nation status.
We’ll commune on my chunk of land in L.A. (Lower Alabama) Till the soil. Make love, not war. Sing around a campfire, nudity optional. “Walden” as a Reality Series.
Consider creating a hunting preserve, pending my ethical dilemma. “They” say the deer population is out of control, like Atlanta’s. Evidently, the deer want to be killed. Poaching is rampant. But Bambi, like my childhood Atlanta, haunts my dreams.
We may home school, but we WILL teach Evolution, Freedom Of and From Religion, in the waning spirit of our “former” nation’s forefathers. Resist absorption into the emerging Theocracy of Alabama.
Come, ye huddled masses, friends of my youth.
“But, you say, what about us? We’ll always have Atlanta.”
– Georgia Lee