We are talking about soft drinks here, not…other things.
“Coke”, in the South, covers a variety of fizzy soft drink products. Northerners do not know this.
If you request a coke in the South, you’ll be asked, “What kind of coke? We got diet, we got sprite, we got orange, we got lemonade….” and so on down the drinks list. If you want the actual, branded product, you request a “Coke-cola” or “Co-cola”.
(If you’re a heathen, you request a Pepsi.)
(And then you are shunned.)
(And you feel shame.)
Anyway, I learned this the hard way. I learned that if I ask, “What kind of coke do you have?”, I’m going to get a funny look and, “Diet or regular.” For a short while, I thought that Northerners only drank diet or regular Coke, no other kinds of drinks. Then, I was at the grocery store buying Mountain Dew for my sister, and the cashier asked me if the “pop” was mine, too.
Pop. They call coke “pop” or sometimes “soda”. Which is also weird. A soda in the South is an ice cream soda or sometimes a float. It’s cool and creamy and glorious, especially in the summer. Nothing beats a (proper) soda in a southern summer.
I have learned a thing. It’s a strange thing, but now I know – though I really doubt I’ll ever be able to request a pop without giggling or a soda without disappointment at the lack of ice cream. And my first impulse will always and forever be to request a coke.
Now, since we (meaning me, on this blog) are discussing drinks, let’s address tea.
First off, in the South, a request for tea means iced tea. One might drink hot tea if (1) there’s no coffee, (2) you’re sick and need a honey/whisky/tea toddy to feel better, or (3) you’re a transplant from somewhere else, probably Britain. These are the only acceptable reasons for drinking hot tea.
(Yes, even in winter.)
(No, I don’t know why. Just trust me on this.)
Secondly, there is the sweet tea vs. unsweet tea issue.
Let that sink in, those of you in the South. There is a thing called unsweet tea.
This is weird. C’mon, even I know there’s only one kind of tea (and that kind is sweet) and I don’t drink tea of any kind because it all tastes like dirt. Unsweet tea is an abomination of the worst kind according to the tea drinkers I know*.
*(They’re all from the South).
So, beware, all of you. Do NOT ask for tea in the North. You will receive unsweetened iced tea, and everyone knows you can’t fix that, no matter how much sugar you dump in your glass. It won’t dissolve. The sugar will just lay there, in the bottom of your glass, taunting you with all that glorious sweetness that you aren’t having. Tea has to be sweetened while being brewed or it isn’t sweet tea.
And if it isn’t sweet tea, who wants to drink it, anyway?