Welcome (back) to Atlanta - Rob Felt

My apologies to the southside -- I'm moving back to Atlanta.

Here's a brief synopsis of my story before I explain.

[Fade to black]

Directly after graduating with my spiffy bachelor of fine arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design, I moved to Atlanta with another recent grad friend of mine. Neither of us had jobs, or a clue as to what we were going to do, and we lived in a criminally infested apartment building on 26th Street that was slated for demolition. Literally, and literally.

After a photo lab job and a year with another newspaper organization, I ended up at the Daily Herald and the News Daily. At that point, I was living in Virginia-Highland with three roommates in a nice house with a backyard. Quite different from the old digs on 26th Street.

Long story short -- the rental company sold the house and scattered us to the winds. I used the opportunity to move closer to where I worked -- rationalizing that the daily commute was draining me, and that I'd like to live in the community to get a better feel for it.

[Fade in, present day]

The lease on my gated, corporate, national-chain, overpriced apartment home is up, and it's time to make a change. I've lived in Stockbridge for a year and a half, and, in a bolt of inspiration two weeks ago, I decided to move back in the northerly direction.

Now listen up, and hear this clearly: I don't harbor any disdain for the area south of Atlanta, or all things "OTP" (outside the Perimeter), as some of my twentysomething contemporaries call the "unlivable" areas outside of the city limits.

To simplify the explanation process here, I'll place the blame on an invincible source -- my girlfriend. She lives in Atlanta, and the time I've spent in Henry County has saved me some driving, but created plenty for her.

Although I do enjoy the crazy squirrel park next to the Merle Manders Conference Center, the warehouse clubs, the lower ad valorem tax, and of course, the Waffle Houses on every corner, at this point in my life I feel it's more important to be close to her and the things I like about the city.

Nothing against you, southside. I wouldn't want to live in Alpharetta or Roswell any more than Stockbridge, honestly. In the time I've lived here, I've felt the frustration of this area when the northern exurbs get most of the attention.

Maybe my sneaky license plate, which reads "Trout Unlimited" instead of my county of residence, will mask the return of my commuter guilt. I had people comment on my Fulton sticker a few years ago, but luckily I'll be outsmarting them this time. Unless they're reading this, of course.

Please don't hold this against me, please understand. I'm just a transplant from Cleveland, Ohio anyway.

Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or rfelt@henryherald.com .