“Do you want Dr. Pepper, Sprite?” No, just a Coke. “Regular Coke, Diet Coke?” Uh? Regular Coke? Finally. If only I had seen the national map above before I asked. How stupid of me to not know that down south Coke is the generic name for any carbonated beverage.
My only other moment of soda-pop-Coke-confusion came in Boston three years ago. We were sharing Independence Day with Laura’s parents alongside the Charles River waiting for the epic fireworks display. Laura and I had just walked the Freedom Trail and needed a drink and some food badly. After draining our wallets at a concession stand, we were still missing our drinks.
As the national map testifies, I’m a true Midwesterner. I informed the young girl we were still missing our “pop.” The dumbfounded look of confusion I received could only come from someone who sadly lives in the dark heart of “Red Sox Nation.” Suddenly, another woman jumped in to save the girl. “I know what Pop means, they need their soda,” she proclaimed. Whew! Who knew getting a Coke could be so hard. Makes me want to laminate the chart and pull it out of my wallet for travels.
Meanwhile, back in Mississippi, I quickly went Southern whenever we needed a drink. “Regular Coke, hon!” Worked every time.