Ah, East Cobb. Just North of Atlanta. Close enough that we inhabitants can get away with telling everyone we meet that we're from the city, but far enough away that we live the #suburblife and manage to escape most (not all!) of the rush hour traffic.
If you have lived in East Cobb, this article is one for you!
1. Coke is the only drink option
Your neighbor, your family, your friend, your teacher's wife, your coach-- SOMEONE works for or has worked for Coke. Most-- if not all-- of the vending machines dispense coke products. Every Christmas, my siblings and I get one coke-themed gift. One of my favorite teachers in High School was never spotted without a diet coke in her hand. If you bother drinking Pepsi... well, darlin', we'll pray for you.
2. You have a special place in your heart for a few specific spots
Paradise Grill was a necessity for squad hangouts after football games, movies, pageants, shows, etc. If you were feeling really fancy, you crossed the strip mall and headed to Asahi. Sometimes it seems like people don't know there are more than two restaurants in the area! The Avenue is where you go if you want to feel fancy. It's the closest thing East Cobb Girls have to the upper east side.
3. You always feel uncomfortable wandering into West Cobb
There's nothing distinctly bad about West Cobb, it's just soooo different from East Cobb in some subtle, ineffable way. The grass is a little more scraggly, the houses are a little smaller, and their aquatic center is the LAST place you want to hold a swim meet.
4. You know where to go (or avoid!) during the summer
Yes, the live music in Downtown Woodstock on Friday nights is amazing, but chances are you will either get suffocated by crowds or bored out of your mind after everything underage-friendly closes at 9. Similarly, Marietta Square is beautiful and fun-- but only if you go at a good time. Otherwise, the sidewalks are congested, there's nowhere to park, and there's a line out the door for Bubble Tea. Don't even bother going to the Mill unless you're prepared to be overrun by tweens.
5. You probably know or live near someone famous
Chandler Riggs frequents Downtown Woodstock, one of the ladies from Say Yes to the Dress has a kid at my old high school, and several retired sports stars live in the area. Honestly, it's not that much of a surprise that everyone lives in McMansions.
6. When they moved the Shallowford Starbucks from the Publix to a standalone location, every Lassiter kid lost their s**t
I cannot begin to count how many times I drove to Publix over winter break instead of the new Starbucks. It used to be so convenient! You could grab coffee or study while your parents went grocery shopping or picked up Take-Out across the street. Now... well, sure it's a drive through but it's in such a weird, uncomfortable place.
7. You hate Milton or Walton
ESPECIALLY if you're a drama kid or a football fan.
8. Chick-fil-a was probably sold in your school hallways.
Mabry Fridays and Lassiter Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were the BOMB. The halls smelled like chicken biscuits, and the trashcans overflowed with greasy silver foil. Honestly, what even is the point of going to a school that doesn't smell like Chick-fil-a three times a week?
9. Even though you're in the heart of the south, very few people have southern accents.
Except for the teachers in your hardest classes. For some reason, my Literature teachers almost never had that thick, marbles-in-the-mouth Southern Accent, but of course my Economics, Math, and Government teachers did. OF COURSE.
10. Every kid at your school visited the Redneck Riviera on spring break
Destin? PCB? Seaside? Pensacola? You will inevitably run into (at the very least) five kids from East Cobb. If you're lucky, it's people you like. If you're not, well...
11. Homecoming parades are either the love of your live or the bane of your existence
Yes, when you're in them they're awesome. Fun costumes, candy, music, team spirit-- but when they're held during rush hour on a Friday afternoon, chances are every single person in the exacerbated traffic will hate your school for the rest of their lives.
12. Everyone dresses in expensive clothing...
There's a uniform. Sperry's, leggings, Southern Charm shirts, Columbia jackets, Yeti hats and mugs, Uggs, Nike, and white converse... Even if you spend hundreds of dollars on your designer clothes, you always dress the same as everyone else. I swear to God my sister begged for a sweatshirt that looked like something you could get for three dollars in a drug store-- but as long as it's name brand, it's cool.
13. ... And that means that Goodwill is LIT.
I got my prom dress-- a David's Bridal gown worth upwards of $200-- at Goodwill for $8. Needless to say, there's a reason that's my primary shopping center. As a not-so-wealthy East Cobber, when I needed new clothes, Goodwill was where I went! I'd say about 80% of my wardrobe comes from Goodwill-- I can find better styles there than most department stores.
14. You ALWAYS say you're from Atlanta, but technically you're from "unincorporated East Cobb"
As my sister said, "no one can drive to midtown without Google Maps". Your address probably reads Roswell, Marietta, or Woodstock. You're not really from the ATL.
15.The local Catholics are divided up, West Side Story-style
At my school, there were the two defined groups of Catholic kids. Either you were St. Peter Chanel, or you were Transfiguration. And then, there were a few scattered people who went to St. Anne's. If St. Peter is the Jets, Transfiguration is the Sharks, then St. Anne's is some street bystander.
16. The real speed limit on Shallowford and Sandy Plains is closer to 60
If you go slower than that, even the cops will pass you. I'm not kidding. It says 45, but really-- well, just try driving 45. I dare you.
17. Either you loved it or hated it growing up
For seventeen years, I despised it. I couldn't wait to leave. Now, there's a certain fondness I can't help but associate with East Cobb. It's bittersweet returning home and seeing the familiar sites, like the bottleneck traffic at 3:30 outside Lassiter, the Grecian entrance to Leta Thomson, and the sunshine-filled greenery that makes you feel like you live in a fairy kingdom in the middle of a forest. Though East Cobb isn't where I want to grow old, I'm proud to have grown up there.