I Have No Idea What Ginger Ale Is

I’m a background actor, and one of the many perks of this job is the catering. Because I’m not a member of SAG-AFTRA, I’m entitled to the Non-Union catering. Our craft services are… inferior, to the Union crafty, in a word. If Non-Union craft services were a beloved movie character, they would be The Brave Little Toaster… Are toasters usually cowards?

The food and drinks aren’t bad by any means. It’s just hard to look over twenty feet and see the Unionites (hereby referred to as Sellouts) with lox and bagels while we enjoy our prepackaged granola bars. Puts a bad taste in my mouth- or maybe that’s the granola.

As such, I feel happy when we have drinks besides water- typically something like Seltzer Water or Ginger Ale.

But that’s where my trouble began.

I have no idea what ginger ale is.

I only learned I know nothing after bringing up that ginger ale sure seemed to be thick in consistency for something that wasn’t a soda. Then I was told it was a soda. I didn’t believe that, so I checked the nutrition facts and was shocked at the sugar quantity.

Somehow, wiring had gotten crossed in the switchboard of my brain, and decided that ginger ale was synonymous with sparkling water. Learning this was wrong… it was an upheaval.

My first mindset was one of confusion- why would anyone drink it if it wasn’t low in calories? People are drinking it for the taste? This led me to have to reclassify it in my mind, which was a mistake to attempt.

After shattering my current mental categorization, I had to place it somewhere new. It couldn’t sit with sparkling water anymore, not after I learned the calories and sugar were so high. But it didn’t fit with soda either- it was still too low in sugar to quite be with the diabetic nightmare that was the other soda pops.

Next, I began in futility to find a soda it could be a spinoff of. Cream Soda, for example, is Root Beer’s horse-girl cousin, probably named something typical like Beverly. It wasn’t a brother or sister drink either. Sprite turns into a Shirley Temple after you add grenadine- but that’s just a touch of culture. Sprite went to Paris over summer break and now refuses to take off that tacky beret. You’re still not French, Veronica! Sodas mixed with alcohol still maintain their personality, they’re just drunk.

I brought up that it isn’t a soda- no way. This point was argued back, but I still feel safe in my viewpoint. No one in the history of time has ever gone to a gas station to get some snacks and a ginger ale. No one asks for a icy glass of Schweppes, or keeps a 12-pack of cans in the fridge. Most sodas are identified by name, aren’t they? “I’ll take a Coke. Do you have Sprite?”

Then I realized that my answer was already in front of me. I’ve never asked a waitress for a Barq’s. I’ve only asked for root beer. The same goes for cream soda. By my own classifications and confounded logic I had to place ginger ale as a cousin of root beer. Certainly not a first cousin, like cream soda, but they are undeniably related. Whether or not that makes it a soda or not… I truly don’t know.

I Have No Idea What Ginger Ale Is.