Do I have your attention?
The first definition of hey is getting someone’s attention or expressing surprise, anger or showing your annoyed.
Hey, John! Come here a minute!
Hey! Watch where you’re going!
The second definition of hey is hello.
Hey, Sue. How are you?
The South is where I first learned how the second definition is truly used.
In the South, hey is hello, hi, and how’s it going. (Even though in my mind “How’s it going?” will always be associated with a certain N’Awlins transplant.)
The first time I heard the expression was when we moved here for the second time in 1994.
I was walking down the hallway of the Realtor’s office with the boys in tow, and I heard a woman behind me saying “hey”. She kept saying “Hey…Hey!”
I was like, “gees, I’m hurrying as fast as I can, pleeeese lady, give me a break”. (This was in my head of course; you know, children with, trying to set an example and all that, however, we did have a big laugh and discussion about it later so….never mind). The first chance I had to move out of her way I did and turned around, to which she looked at me and said “Hey, I’m so and so”. It was then that I realized that “hey” was a greeting.
I guess it was only natural that I would start using the expression.
I don’t remember when I realized the frequency that I used it.
Maybe it was when we traveled to our home state of PA and I said “hey” as a greeting and got that strange look like “what the heck?”
“Hey” had become part of my everyday vocabulary.
Recently, Craig and I had a reason to travel to another part of the country.
I thought about it when I said hello to people who greeted me.
I said hello, or hi. I tried not to just say hey.
I didn’t want to stand out too much, “don’t you know”.