THE WORD O' WHEATON

"My mama, she went to the store, her, and just left me out here." « Mais, yall come see my new tricycle, cher! »

I must have been 17 years old before I ever uttered the phrase « come here. » And I did so only to make myself understood to what I thought was a somewhat dense Northerner, a Long Islander who couldn’t understand basic English.

In my part of the world, in South Louisiana, for some reason or other, we never said, « come here. » Instead, we said, « come see. » Always and forever, with no confusions or misunderstanding.

Yet the very first time I said « come see » in Southampton, New York, in the fall of 1991, the response was — well, I don’t have to tell anyone who wasn’t raised in Louisiana what the response was.

Me: « Come see. »
Friend: « See what? »
Me: « What? »
Friend: « Come see what? »
Me: Pause. Thinking. « Uh. Come here? »

And thus I switched from « come see » to « come here. »

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