I was called a Hillbilly yesterday when I asked for something to drink. No, I wasn’t ordering moonshine. I was ordering something to drink from a New York City street vendor to slake my thirst. The offending word I used was “pop.”
Usually when I ask for “pop” I get squeals of laughter from children and adult fingers pointed at me. Yesterday was the first time I’d been labeled a Hillbilly. I have learned the hard way — through embarrassment and finger-pointing — that on the East Coast you don’t call a carbonated beverage “pop.” You call it “soda,” but sometimes I forget.
In Nebraska, where I was born and raised, you call soda “pop” but, I have also learned, there are few people beyond the great prairie state who use “pop” to order soda. Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly culturally inebriated, I will defy the trend and order a “soft drink,” but when I do, I am always corrected with “you want a soda,” which, I suppose, is better than getting a blank stare when I order “pop” instead.
I suppose I could split the baby and order a “soda pop” but I just can’t bring myself to utter those two silly words together in the same sentence.