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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Norm Lanier

23 signs that you definitely grew up in Austin

Written by
Timothy Dailey-Valdés

For those who grew up in Austin—who can accurately say "I'm from here"—the Austin experience is a truly unique one. Transplants look at you like they’re seeing a live mermaid. Fellow lifers treat you like a comrade in battle. And there are a million little ways your life, your attitude and your view of Austin might be just a little bit unconventional. Here are a few indicators that you might have grown up in the 512—before they went and added that second area code.

1. You use place names that make visitors scratch their heads (’cause it’s hard to find The Drag or Town Lake on Google Maps).

2. The first Leslie you think of isn’t Knope or Nielsen. It’s the late, great Leslie Cochran (who was on a first-name basis with everyone).

3. You remember when you had to specify “Austin, Texas” while traveling out of state, and nobody knew anything about your hometown—except maybe that it’s the state capital.

4. If SXSW was a person, your relationship status would be “It’s Complicated.”

5. You’ve completed more than one white-paper-bag job application at Amy’s Ice Creams, whether you intended to work there or not.

6. You build extra time into your driving plans to account for traffic, no matter where you’re going or when.

7. You don’t question a public birthday celebration for a fictional donkey.

8. You know Chuck E. Cheese’s had nothing on Celebration Station and Pandamonium.

9. You think charging for chips and salsa is a crime against humanity.

10. You have at least one Matthew McConaughey story.

11. You force yourself to smile politely when someone from a neighboring county says, “No way! I’m from Austin, too!”

12. You either have too much burnt orange in your closet, or none.

13. You think of bats as pigeons with fur and a better publicist.

14. You saw concerts at Southpark Meadows when it was an actual meadow.

15. It isn’t Christmastime for you until you get dizzy under the Zilker Tree.

16. You remember a time when MoPac wasn’t under construction.

17. You’ve let out your inner punk by cutting and rearranging the letters from one of those Waterloo Records bumper stickers.

18. “Aw, I remember when that place used to be…” is becoming a catchphrase for you.

19. Your fondest memory of the Frank Erwin Center is your own graduation.

20. People expect you to have strong opinions on breakfast tacos, and perhaps you do.

21. You may tolerate drivers who don’t use their turn signals, but the thank-you wave is mandatory.

22. You have a deep, spiritual connection to “Jeremiah the Innocent” (Daniel Johnston’s Hi, how are you frog).

23. You don’t wonder why Airport Boulevard is called that.

Can you think of any other signs that you grew up in Austin? Share them in the comments below!

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