But never mind that right now. Check out this excellent tribute to our mutual home sweet metro and its undying love affair with all things college football:
Read the whole thing.
Telling someone the exact charms of Atlanta is difficult, particularly if you're talking to a transplanted Northeasterner repeating what everyone outside of Atlanta says: "This is a terrible sports town." They would be right in a certain sense. If I went to New Orleans I could say "This is a terrible restaurant town," since all the typical easy signs of modern food civilization are gone from the landscape of the Quarter. There is no Applebee's sign, no easy Olive Garden beckoning the eater in, only a series of stand-alone cafes, diners, and restaurants where you will not eat quickly, and where you may be denied entry for not wearing the right thing.
This assumes correctly that the outsider has a fundamental lack of understanding of the situation, and bad taste. This is true, since sports fandom in Atlanta is almost wholly dependent on college football, the one thing suturing together the disparate group of people who come here for work, love, or because several months into a lengthy layover at Hartsfield, they decided to just stay and make the best of things. It is one of the few universal binders here along with a love of greasy food, the fear of being eaten in the night by kudzu, and a general curiosity as to Monica Kaufman's real beauty regimen. (Hint: she's a vampire, and does not age. Why do you think she does only the evening news?)
On both radio stations it is possible to discuss college football in June...for an hour. In fact, it's encouraged. Hit the 75/85 connector on a Friday, and the waggling of car window flags turns the odious traffic into a slow moving river of tailgate potential on the move. The flags appeared about a month ago in my neighborhood. Last weekend, wandering around Kirkwood, i turned a corner to find a huge inflatable elephant staring at me from a yard. An Alabama fan had decided it was time not just to shine up the ceramic elephant in the yard, but to deploy the inflatable for the duration of the season. I only notice the inflatables, since the team-themed porch flags never really come down. I can look out my window right now and see the Tennessee flag of my neighbor waving orange in the light wind blowing down the street today, a reminder that football is tonight, and that I need to burn that flag as soon as possible but in the safest manner possible.
(He is my neighbor, after all. Don't want to make a lifelong enemy here, just one on Saturdays.)
UPDATE: Read this, too. Among many other things, it's a peek into why Mellencamp has been absolutely on fire (in a good way) lately.