“Well, ma’am, did she just book it or did she been booked it?”

I promise you, I had no idea what those words even meant. I was standing at the hotel counter, trying to obtain access to the hotel room Ashley had reserved online for this quick trip. The girl behind the counter could not seem to find my reservation, and that was her question in response.

I looked at her quizzically. “I’m… sorry?”

“Did she just book it, or did she been booked it?”

Apparently, in some cultures and vernaculars, the word ‘been’ is something you can toss into any sentence to convey the passage of time and extended past tense.

Like, just anywhere. I could have said, “Oh, she been booked it a coupl’a weeks ago.” And that would have been a completely fluent answer.

Instead, I found myself saying, yet again, “I’m…. sorry?”

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