Soda? Cola? Pop? What do you say? Any other regional words that set you apart?
Question submitted by Gladys.
I’ve lived in so many different parts of the country that I frequently just don’t know what to call the, um, carbonated-beverage thing anymore. When I was growing up in Oklahoma, I definitely called it “pop.” When I later moved to Ohio, “soda” started to sound right to my ear. I even started to say that sometimes. When I lived in New Orleans, I often heard people say “coke,” no matter the actual brand was. I never cottoned (hey, is that a regionalism?) to that, but—by the time I arrived in Philly—I wasn’t quite sure what to call Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, RC, or anything else.
Today, when I say “pop,” I feel like maybe I’ve said the wrong thing. When I say “soda,” I feel inauthentic (i.e., insufficiently Okie). But screw it. Since I recently decided to embrace the inner (but wholesome!) redneck in me, I vow to be more comfortable with “pop.”
And when I say “sack,” instead of “bag,” for that thing the cashier sticks your groceries into, remember that’s just the Oklahoma in me. Nothing wrong with that. Speaking of supermarkets, you may call it a shopping cart, but that’s a “buggy” to me. If it’s raining while the sun is shining, I’ll wonder if the “devil’s beating his wife.” (That’s an awful figure of speech, I know, but that’s what I used to hear in Oklahoma.) And when I tell you “even the old blind sow finds an acorn once in awhile,” well, just remember where I’m from. Then you can ask me what the hell that means.