Thursday, May 30, 2002

You say Potato, I say "What the Hell are You Talking About?"

I am a worldly traveler, as many of you know. I was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Cincinnati, spent some time in New York and decided to make a home for myself in the windy city of Chicago. I spent four years of my life in the Mecca that is Athens, Ohio. I've traveled from Mexico to New Orleans to Macomb. Even though we all speak English, I find that we never know what the hell others are talking about.

When I lived in the Big Apple, happily named the Big Apple because that's what they throw at you in order to steal your cab, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant on the bottom floor of the Empire state building. Here is my exchange with the waiter:

Waiter: "Can I start you off with something to drink?"
Me: "I'll take a pop," but Waiter hears: "Donde es elbano?"
Waiter: "I'm sorry, but we don't carry that," looking at me like I am an alien from the planet Vulcan. "We have some cold sodas if you like to try one."

SODA. Who in the hell calls it SODA? More importantly,
why is this waiter trying to pick my pocket?

Me: "Fine then, I'll have a SODA."

The universal language that all Americans share changes depending on what part of America you're in. In Columbus, when I say "Gym Shoes," they tell me I'm talking about "Tennis Shoes." In Texas, when I say "Trial by Jury," they say I mean "Lethal Injection." In California, when I say, "Let's make with the Lovin," they say, "Let's make with the Lovin." (I guess some things are universal.)

Now, this might not mean anything to you but it sure bugs the crap out of me. It's generally bad enough that when I go to a restaurant they seat me next to a mother, her son, and his twelve obnoxious friends that keep throwing French-Fries at me. I wouldn't mind so much if they would refrain from loading them with ketchup before the assault.

On the other side of me, of course, is the man that ordered his hamburger with a detailed list of Dos and Don'ts because he knows they will screw it up and he is looking forward to taking out his aggression and getting a meal free.

Angry Man With Mullet: "I want my hamburger with everything on it except onions, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, mustard, Mayo and beef. And I'd like you pick all the seeds of the bun with your toes. Did you getthat?"

Waitress: "Uh yeah."

The waitress returns ten minutes later with the food.

Mullet Man: "These seeds were picked off with your elbow! Bring me a manager!"

And so on. So when I go to a restaurant, the last thing I need is to argue the semantics of the carbonated-unhealthy-comes in a can-drink that my mouth is dying for. It doesn't even work when I try to be specific.

Me: "Can I have a Pepsi?"
Waiter: "We only serve Coke."
Me: "Can I have a Coke?"
Waiter: "Actually, we only serve soda."

As a wise man once said, "I will not call it Soda because Soda is stupid.

Sounds like a valid argument to me.