Soda – POP – or Coke?

In my 13th year I moved from Utah to Texas to New Jersey.

I never knew that simple words could become such a big thing. In Texas I was beraded endlessly for referring to the sugary sweet carbinated beverage I had known my whole life as “Pop.”

by Pete Ferguson

“Pop? – What are you like 80 years old?” I would hear multiple times.

So I learned it was “Coke” even if I wanted a Sprite or a Root Beer.

Nine months later we were packed again into our station wagon with six kids and a dog and ended up in New Jersey where now I had to stop saying “y’all” and “Coke” and needed to learn to say “you’se guys” “idear” (idea) and “soda.”

And so it goes …

Many years later I traveled throughout Asia and Europe in a short period of time. I recall waking up in a hotel room thinking I was in Omaha only to find out I was in Dublin, Ireland. Later that day I needed to use the:
A. Bathroom
B. Washroom
C. Facilities
D. Toilet
E. Pisser
F. Head
G. Gents

The person I was asking thought it a bit comical, and maybe thought I was drunk. My brain felt like a complete pretzel and it took several weeks at home to get out of the fog.

What I continue to learn is how important human relationships are. I must be careful in the words I use, but I can’t put too much stock into them. I need to read body language and spend enough time to get to know a person. Relying on the words alone is dangerous because I have my base context of what things mean – and they likely will not mean the same thing to another.

So have a Coke, a soda, a pop, or whatever you like best and smile!

I’ll be completely unplugged from technology on a river rafting, canoeing, and hiking all week. I used to be addicted to technology. I’m quite looking forward to not having anything but a flashlight for electricity – though I’ll miss a comfortable mattress, air conditioning, a decent restroom, and clean water for a week.


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