Terms: popping / show out / turn out / turn up / lit / light up
*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference.
Squeaky wheels filled the high walls of the theater with the sound of rubber rolling on the hardwood. The stage lights sprayed all across the room leaving little shadows over the shoulders of the chairs. In front of it all was Charles, front and center on the big stage.
Well, he wasn’t performing, you can bet; he was putting up props, vacuuming the giant curtains, mopping and polishing the smooth stage.
—If I mop this up quickly, he thought, I can lay out the carpets for the set design.
In the back of the theater hall were two other young employees watching Charles’s every move.
—Look at him go! one said.
—I wonder why he likes stage design so much. Doesn’t it seem weird to like stage design so much? asked the other.
—It pays the bills. I mean, if I were from another country like he is, I’d be happy to set up stages for some extra bucks.
—Hey you guys! What do you think?
Charles yelled out across the hall to the two nosey workers on break. They put up two big thumbs of approval, nodding their heads to say it was good.
—Good job! The stage is popping, man. You sure like to show out on your designs.
Charles waved at them to say “Thanks.” He sat down on the edge of the stage and wiped his forehead of dusty sweat.
—But what do you mean by show out? I’m not showing anything. Or popping anything.
The guy who had made the confusing comment sat down in the closest chair to him in the back row. He then explained;
—I know you didn’t break anything. I was saying your stage designs are popping. If anything is popping, it means it’s “really cool, exciting, fun,” and whatnot. Kinda like when you show out, which means “to do really well at something,” almost like show off. They’re pretty much the same.
Charles tilted his head and said, —So, if I’m popping or showing out, I’m doing really good at something. So, basically, you gave me a compliment?
—Yeah, bro! I’m always impressed by your designs and how much work you put into all this stage stuff. You always turn out when it comes to the theater. And before you ask, turn out can mean the same as “show out.” Or you can say turn out to tell “how something finished.” Your designs always turn out nicely. Then he laughed. Viki here admires your hard work too, don’t’cha?
He turned around and nodded at his co-worker, Viki, so that she would say something nice. She sighed as if she were annoyed by the conversation, then she went to sit next to the other employee.
—Oh, yeah. I love the theater. It’s great to clean gum off of the bottom of people’s seats twice a week.
—Quit it with the sarcasm, Viks! Look on the bright side. We have that concert we’re going to tonight.
Viki responded, —Whoop! Chris … I’m so glad you said it. We about to turn up out there. The whole block is gonna be lit, for real.
—What is she talking about? Charles yelled out again from across the theater.
—Nothing, Charles! Just this lit party we ’bout to go to tonight.
—Oh, I like parties when they turn up a bunch of lights! It’s so fun.
Viki and Chris laughed while hitting each other.
Chris turned to her and said, —It’s your turn to explain, bro.
Then Viki said, —I mean, turn up just means we’re gonna “have lots of fun.” In fact, we’re gonna show out with how much fun we’re gonna have. And lit has nothing to do with light. It means that the concert is gonna “be really fun, like a big party.” You know, the usual partying vocab.
Chris added, —Yeah, but to light something up can also be “to hit it a bunch of times.” Like in a fight, someone can get lit up by punches. Hopefully no one gets lit up tonight at this concert.
—You said that right, Viki replied, and then, —You wanna come with us? It’s just a hip hop concert.
Chris gasped in shock.
—What? Did you just invite someone to a concert? Victoria, that is so unlike you!
—Shut up, fool. We gotta get going now ’cause the venue is gonna fill up quick. What do you say, Charles? You coming?
Charles hesitated, then jolted out a quick, —Yeah! Let’s go turn up!
They all laughed, and Chris said, —That’s a boy! Man, it’s about to be the most popping night you’ve had all year.
Charles then remembered something.
—I’m just gonna finish cleaning the stage real quick. You guys go ahead.
They nodded at him and left out of the theater for the night. Charles opened up the paint buckets and started to experiment with some brushes.
—Just a few strokes before I go.