For about six years, I’ve asked for “diet cola” as opposed to any sort of brand name of a beverage. It avoid the awkwardness of “I’d like a diet coke”, “is diet pepsi ok?” which I think starts the meal on a negative note and skips the question “do you serve coke or pepsi products” which doesn’t work anyway for those four restaurants that still serve RC cola or Tab. Recently there’s been an uptick in servers who reply to “diet cola” with “is diet (brand name) ok?” Sure, of course it’s fine, you’re probably just verifying that diet pepsi is ok and not making a tacit admission that you hve no clue what a cola is.
In the last three weeks, I have no less than twice been flatly told “we don’t have that” or “no” (to the question “can I have a diet cola”). Then I have to root around for what product line they have and a diet cola of the appropriate type. What’s next? “Can I have some ketchup?”, “no, we only have Heinz” an exchange so ridiculous I’d begin toting my own condiments before having to deal with this. Years from now, when the predictions of Idoicracy comes through sociologists and historians will ask try to find the road-sides to ruin, and in addition to the date that the Slip n’ Slide became an Olympic event (it’s what happens when you melt a louge curve) I will point to the fall of 2008 as the time when servers stopped knowing what cola was.
If anyone wants to go to an ether frollic I’ll be having a phosphate at the drug store reading the new serialized Fitzgerald in Collier’s.