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1. You actually know which part of Florida the Panhandle is.
Hint: It’s the part touching Georgia and Alabama.
2. You’ve heard someone say, “If it’s called ‘tourist season,’ then why can’t we shoot them?”
Tourist season is basically all year. Spring break, summer tourists, then the snowbirds flock. They bring in lots of revenue, but they’re also really, really annoying.
3. You’re either a Gator or a Seminole. There are no in-betweens.
College football is a huge deal in the Panhandle. Family members won’t speak to one another if their team loses and the other’s wins. If you’re from the Panhandle, you probably bleed garnet and gold.
4. You know Florida gets cold.
We get frosts. We get below-freezing temperatures sometimes. It’s traumatic. Having to actually wear socks.
5. You’re a time traveler.
The Panhandle is split between two time zones: Eastern and Central. So you can celebrate New Year’s twice.
6. You hate BP but you love its dirty money.
Most of the Panhandle’s business is based around the Gulf of Mexico, and people mistreating our ocean are not our friends. But hey, thanks for the new garage.
7. You avoid Panama City Beach at all costs during March and April.
While the antics of your spring break are funny and entertaining for us locals, we mostly just want you to leave.
8. You can’t stand snowbirds either.
Please go the speed limit. Please stop telling me how charming my accent is. Please go back to the frozen north you came from.
9. You drink sweet tea every day.
With every meal. And when you go somewhere that doesn’t serve it, you’re appalled and confused. How can you not have sweet tea? What I am supposed to drink? WATER?
10. You have a grasp of basic manners.
We hold open doors. We wave. We’re friendly folks.
11. Until something pisses you off.
Ain’t nothing scarier than a pissed-off Southerner. We take things personally.
12. You know the horror of yellow flies.
If you have to ask…
13. You’ve attended more than a few hurricane parties.
Because what else are you going to do for the next few days besides get drunk and eat crap?
14. You don’t question the “beach time warp.”
Have I been here for ten minutes or ten days? I could check my skin, but it started burning as soon as I stepped out the door.
15. But you also know “the beach” isn’t the only source of water-themed fun.
Despite all of the wonderfulness the Gulf has to offer, you know that the springs, rivers, and lakes also make the Panhandle awesome.
16. You own more than 7 bathing suits.
It’s all about the water.
17. You understand Florida is a big state.
So you’re going to South Florida for some unknown reason? Enjoy your hot, humid, 6-hour drive. Going to the East Coast? Enjoy your 6-hour drive.
18. You take your seafood very seriously.
Apalachicola oysters and big Gulf of Mexico shrimp…know what I’m saying?
19. You’ll come back.
Sure you think you’ve moved away “for good” and to “see the world.” Good for you. See you soon because the Panhandle doesn’t let go easily.