Sandy Springs: ITP snob appeal is s-o-o-o-o not funny

I’ve had three occasions to be in the Midtown/downtown area the past month, and have been reminded of the ongoing spitting match that goes on daily between those who live ITP (inside the Perimeter) and OTP (outside the Perimeter). I’m OTP, and before I’m done this is really going to twist the knickers of some ITP confederates.

I lived in my Sandy Springs house before I was married and, after jumping the broom, my wife and I chose to stay. We liked the size of the yard. We liked the schools. We liked the community. But we’re hardly suburbia jingoists.

When we see a play it’s at the Alliance. Our church is near Emory. I confess we only cruise all the way downtown for a professional sports event. The restaurants we frequent 99 percent of the time are OTP and, no, none have a drive-thru or a guy dressed like a hillbilly bear greeting us at the door.

We have friends on both sides, and here’s the rub. I don’t care where you live: ITP, OTP, the moon. But there is something about the intown crowd that makes them shriek like a frigid wind just blew up their skirts when they encounter someone from the suburbs — sort of a geographic schadenfreude. It’s not enough that they love their address — they have to inveigh on anything outside the asphalt doughnut.

I have been told they don’t know how I “can put up with outside the Perimeter.” It’s “gross” and dotted with strip shopping centers and fast-food joints. “There’s nothing to do,” they tell me. One even said she’d “rather die” than live OTP, but I think that was the Beaujolais Nouveau talking. Or maybe the pâté had turned.

It would be easy to come away from such obloquy thinking I lived in something akin to those video games that portend a post-apocalyptic world in which mutated life forms chase humans across a toxic tundra.

For a time I thought perhaps there was some sort of incentive program going on with restaurants and retailers ITP, who gave points toward a future purchase for the best broadside aimed at OTP living. But I’ve since learned that some people hate the ’burbs for no substantive antecedent. As a child, when we encountered hate with no reason our mothers told us those people were jealous, but I still don’t buy that one.

A wise man once told me when we compare ourselves to one another we court unhappiness, but we find genuine kinship when we identify with each other. Can we, regardless of our home ZIP codes, clasp hands across the table and pledge to cease this alphabet-laden folly? I hope so, because I hate the idea that some toothless yahoos out in those little jerkwater country towns might be laughing like a bunch of soused hyenas at our expense — can we at least agree on that?

Jim Osterman lives in Sandy Springs. Reach him at jimosterman@rocketmail.com

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