Friday, September 28, 2007

All Sodas Are Coke


It was a dark week for me at work this week. (Yeah, it rained some, but I'm really speaking of a "something bad happened" kind of darkness here.)

The building that I work in is very large, two stories, but Lord only knows how many square feet.

The closest Coke machine to my office is completely at the other end of the building. And the layout of the building is such that it's easily a 250-300yard/meter distance.

Now before you start in the comments on the evils of Coke, let me state that I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. I free have admitted that I overeat too many of my meals, but I want a Coke now and then too, by golly!

And it's not that I mind the walk, I like getting away from my desk as much as the next person, but my gimpy left leg was giving me the damaged nerve equivalent of an electric shock with ever step on it.

I usually bring a couple of Sam's Choice cola's (diet and caffeine free so there!) but I usually throw whatever change I have in my pocket in one of my desk drawers at work so that on the days that I didn't bring any drinks, I can trek down to the Coke machine to get me some carbonated liquid goodness.

Wednesday was just such a day. I happened to have a one dollar bill in my wallet and decided that I was going to go buy myself a Coke Zero (love them thangs!) to have with my lunch. Notice I'm not telling you what I brought for lunch, let me just say that I believe that diet Coke cancels out the calories in, say, lasanga, if I were to have something like that for lunch;)

Anyhoo, I walk all the way over to THAT corner of this massive building and put my dollar in the Coke machine. It accepts my nice, crisp one dollar bill.

I then push the button for Coke Zero.

Nothing happens.

I push the other button for Coke Zero.

Nada.

Then the engineer side of me kicks in an starts running through the possible reasons why this stupid machine won't give me my Coke Zero.

It didn't flash the little "Sorry, Empty, please make another choice" light.

That could really only leave one other possibility.

Oh No!

The price of the Cokes have gone from $1.00 for a 20oz Coke, to $1.25! Oh the humanity!

So I sadly, painfully walk back to my desk on the other side of the building.

Have I mentioned how stinkin' big this building is?

I get $0.25 from my stash of change and walk all the way back over there and get my Coke Zero, and come back so I can eat my lunch.

I work in an area with about 8 others in a small "Dilbertville" cubicle cluster. As a public service to my fellow engineers who also succumb to the temtation to walk a mile for a Camel Coke, I announced, "I have sad news everyone. The Cokes have gone up to a dollar twenty five."

There was some weeping and knashing of teeth, and a few I don't believe it's and so forth.

Then the whole conversation took a weird, North and South kind of turn, because one guy asked if the Pepsi machine's prices had gone up too.

And I said, "I'm sorry, you misunderstand me, though it's all my fault. I'm from the South, and in the South ALL SODAS/POP/SOFT DRINKS/CARBONATED DRINKS are Coke unless otherwise stated."

The price having been raised conversation was totally forgotten at this pronouncement.

He asked, "What do you mean?"

I said, "In the Southern United States, ALL soft drinks, regardless of brand and flavor are referred to as Coke."

I said, "Let me give you an example. In the South, I might, since I'm going to the Coke machine, ask if you want a Coke. You might reply, "why yes, John. I would love one." at which point I would ask, "what kind" and you may reply, "Dr. Pepper, or Fanta Orange, or whatever" and I would say, "OK, I'll be back in a few minutes."

He said, "That makes no sense!"

I replied, "Well, I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm just saying that's the way it is in much of the South. That all soft drinks are Coke, until a particular soft drink is mentioned by name."

He just looked dumbfounded, and I just stood there looking like an idiot, because, really, it doesn't make sense, it just IS.

Then my friend from the next cubicle, a Clemson graduate and South Carolinian by birth and raising, came around to where Mike and I were and said, "Yep. That's the way it was where I'm from too, everything's Coke until you specify otherwise." And he laughed at the look on Mike's face.

Me alone, he might have thought I was just pulling his leg. But with a level 4 engineer who is smarter than Mike and I put together agreeing with me that it was thus in the South; that somehow convinced him I wasn't trying to get a joke over on him.

From now on, when I go to the Coke machine, I'm going to specifically ask Mike if he wants a Coke.

If he ever says yes, I'm going to take great pleasure in asking him "What kind?"

11 comments:

Norma said...

I learn something new every day--now I know coke is a kleenex or a ping pong word.

You might want to start using your technorati pingy thingy, speaking of ping pong. I noticed that your most recent was a July TT. I thought that little robot was supposed to crawl automatically, but apparently not.

Sindi1968 said...

Well here is yet another reason I like to read your bolg each day. You speak my language. Yes a coke is a coke, it may be a sprite, dr. pepper, Rc cola ,whatever, but it is a coke. My husband was born and raised in Philly and he calls it soda. My three year old for some off the wall reason calls them POP (as if we live in Michigan)?? One last funny thing, as a child, growing up in Monroe, La no one drank beer or any other alcohol in front of children9Or at least not in my clan), If they did ; they wrapped a paper napkin around it (beer) as if we could not tell. I had an aunt who drank coca cola and some kind of alcohol with it, if we asked her what it was she would say Cherry coke. So until I was about 17 years old I thought Cherry cokes had alcohol in it. LOL

katherine. said...

Ihave been known to return a "pepsi cola" at a restaurant...because it wasn't a Coke. They may all be Coke...but there IS a difference.

Babystepper said...

So true. I spent the first 7 or 8 years of my life in Texas, where Coke is equal to "soda/pop/etc." just as you say. It took me a while to adjust when I moved to Oklahoma, where they're all called pop. My husband still makes fun of me for that.

Julie said...

Oh the perils we endure to satisfy our guilty pleasure! I do Diet Pepsi for the most part....up here in Ohio a Coke is JUST COKE!

Marsha (Big Sis) said...

Yes John, a Coke is always a Soda/Pop/Whatever and you have to ask What Kind? It is definately a "suthun" thing. I found this out on my recent trip to Philly!

I like the above mention of Kleenex too! No matter what brand, it's always "I need a Kleenex".

lv2scpbk said...

I didn't know that, but here not all "Cokes" are created equal. If I want a Diet Pepsi, I will say; "I want a Diet Pepsi". LOL. Anyway, I loved reading about your story. I thought you were going to say you walked all the way back there to find out, someone had put money in and had taken your coke for less money and you might have needed to put another $1.00 in the machine.

photowannabe said...

I thought the same as lv2scpbk an thought someone made use of your $1.00. Great story and thanks for the lesson in Southern Speak.

The Rock Chick said...

If you asked me if I wanted a coke, I would think you were asking about regular good old coca-cola.

Here in Chicago it is generally referred to as "pop" and then you have to ask what kind...coke, sprite, etc.

When I hear the word soda, I automatically think right to either ice cream sodas (pop and ice cream) or soda water, which is definitely NOT pop.

I think it's funny how geography makes words mean different things....

Jessica

Sunni Kay said...

My dad is from Oklahoma, and when we visited there, is was Coke, regardless of what type you were referring to. My mother is from North Dakota, and when we visited there it was also pop, regardless of what type you were referring to. I was raised in Northern California and always heard any and all types referred to as soda. I went to England, and asked for a soda and got a glass of plain soda water...

Anonymous said...

The other Monroe/Jena guy, here. When I order a Coke in a restaurant and they say "is pepsi okay?", I say, "NO! I want you to go down the block to the convenience store and get me a Coke!"
I took the pepsi taste challenge at a car show in the old Kingdome in the late 70's. Tasted them both, then said "I'm sorry, but I can tell the difference, and I pick Coke".