‘My’ Life Doesn’t Exist

…and neither does ‘yours’

a spider at the center of a web with a dark background dotted with eerie blue blotches of light
Robert Thiemann

My life doesn’t exist. There is no such thing. Your life is also fantastical, a fake — it is a falsity. It’s one way to see, this view resulted from society. Sounds like madness! Of course, I haven’t explained myself. Let me explain…

Life belongs to no one; it cannot belong. I don’t have a life, but neither do you. We participate in it — at least, that’s one point of view. Imagine God as a spider… Wait, some don’t believe that much. So first, imagine a creator, or a family of creators. Our holy makers and undertakers — then imagine them all as spiders.

Now imagine they made a web as big as the universe, if you can. Imagine your life — what you perceive of this fake thing — as one fragile string in the web. Yes, I suppose like the thread of life, it can be snapped — though convenient, that’s not really my point. But imagine the string as “your life” on this web, loosely stitched and attached to another. And not just another, but another and bound over others, like natural spider webs are spun.

You could picture those other pure strings of silk are the “lives” of parents, husbands, and wives; of friends, kids, co-workers — coaches. In your life may be bosses or subordinates. The coordinates will match your specifics, though, here are no gimmicks. I ask to picture that web as Life itself. You are a golden strand on its mighty fabric, one piece shared in its great wealth.

Taking care of “my life” has been hard to attain. Trying to control something that isn’t mine leaves a knot in my brain. As we say “my world” or “my universe”, we know these things aren’t ours. They’re figures of speech, forms of expression — so too should be “my life”. For as the Earth belongs to none and the universe is not owned, I cannot be the master of something so vast and so old.

Taking care of Life and focusing non-stop on only mine is like taking care of a forest and looking just at one tree. I can nurture and protect it to beautiful perfection, while the greater forest burns down into ruin around me. No, the goal should be the forest as a whole, or shouldn’t it be? To spread care and nurturing to all trees, to all beings. So the whole is what makes life, and not a singularity. We see that as one tree can’t make the forest — I can’t make Life for me.

And it doesn’t have to be total care and improvements made at once. Some days I water down the trees, and some days, plant a new one, or watch after animals, or sweep up the floor’s trash. Some days I check for fires, search for poachers; I prune or check on the tree I grew. Some days it’s cool to soak in the shade in the undergrowth, feel all the life around. I helped to cultivate this Great Wood. I am in it; it lives through me.

So life breathes, eats, sees, and dreams — life manifests through me. And through you, and by all things, and all life’s situations and beings. It means we are living; we are alive. “My life” is not even a goal. It cannot be improved, for it was never mine to own. Life is shared, a drama, an experience felt by all its participants. And the best?

Without each of its working parts, the forest cannot thrive. I said, without the people, creatures — experiences together, then we cannot have Life. Because it is not something to be had. It is not mine or yours. Because without us, life endures. Now we get it. So let’s share it.


This story/poem came from the concept of life being best lived when it is experienced with others, especially those we love. I notice how easily I can miss life’s great opportunities and meet great people by putting up the blinds and focusing on myself. True life seems to happen when I’m open, when I spread my thoughts, when I share life with others. It seemed like a good idea to share with you, + a chance to mess with some cool spider metaphors 😉

*Find this story and others like it on my Medium page

✌️

II. Faints

Antagonists – Chapter 2 (Explicit)

an ice cream truck parked in a lot at night with some lights shining from it
Kazden Cattapan

WANDERING in the last hot rays of the evening, brother and sister reach an ice cream truck. The truck is parked in the middle of a crosswalk, playing the usual melodic music like from a bedtime story, all the while flashing a red cross on top. It resembles an iceberg in the desert, and no matter how minute the street is to the surrounding city, or how many sun-baked sand specks are upon it, that iceberg won’t budge.

“Heyey,” a whistle and a bang on the door. “¡Camión! I know you are in there.”

“Who is it?”

La policía.

A whispered Holy fuck is heard along with a few shakes and rattles.

Joe and Teresa stand at the wheels of the floating menace. They look up into the window, so dark and hollow it might contain the secrets of void and space altogether. Red baths splash over them in two-second intervals. The window pops open.

“Okay offi —  Aw, Benny, they ain’t no cops! It’s some güey with a little Asian woman.”

“Asian woman? Where?! I ain’t never seen a real Asian woman before.”

“Yes you have! You ‘member Paola?”

“Paola, (are crazy. What Paola?)”

“From school, you remember.”

“Paola Palomina? She was Asian? I thought that was Filipino.”

Teresa chuckles. The men refocus their attention.

“Listen man, you need to keep walking, okay?”

Joe rebuttals, “You’re in a goddamn crosswalk. You need to keep walking … Driving.”

“Hey bro, you got a job?”

“Well, it’s been hard out here for everyone —”

“No, you don’t. Go get a job and you can tell me what to do, okay?”

Joe is bubbling up inside. And that’s not a reaction to his wasp sting.

“I just need to get to a hospital, that’s it.”

“Nah, vato, you don’t wanna go to no hospital. They charge too much.”

“Really?” Joe wonders. “I haven’t been since birth.”

“Yeah, man. You come in here, I fix you up.”

They rattle a little more inside the truck and open the side door. From far away, Joe looks like a poor boy getting into a stalker’s van.

(Come, pues.)

But Teresa is justifiably reluctant.

“I’m not going in there with a guy who thinks I look Asian. He’s clearly demented.”

“You do look kinda oriental,” Joe mentions.

It’s followed by a tap and a Fuck you! and they both enter the truck. It is ominously empty.

“This is … seminal,” says Teresa.

“Woah, woah. (Calm yourself, Chinese girl.) You can’t come in here. Privacy?”

“But you’re not doctors.”

“Just go home or to Remy’s —smelly bastard.”

She walks into the street and says, “I ain’t leaving till I see you come out alive. If you come out dead somebody’s gotta tell Mamá on the same day. ‘Member she said, ‘Come straight to me if one of you dies because I need to bless you on the way to Heaven.’ You know she’s crazy-Catholic and got these weird rules like you know how she makes me brush my teeth after every meal?”

“That’s ‘cuz you have braces,” Joe reminds her.

“Really? I thought it was a Catholic thing. Why don’t you have braces? Your teeth are more jacked up than mine.”

“Can I just get my damn surgery, huh? Can you leave so I can have these foo’s cure me? (Please, sis.) My God!”

Teresa takes another look at the empty interior and the silly truck stopped in that most inconvenient place.

“I’m sure you won’t get helped by these two idiots.”

“Ah, be quiet. You know how much it costs to go to the hospital? Tell her, Doc.”

“One million pesos mexicanos.”

“One million pesos! You got that kinda money to spend, Teresa? I know Mamá don’t.”

“I can’t believe — ”

“At least give me some privacy so we can go home.”

She dips out of sight. The man claiming to be a doctor raises Joe’s sleeve and sticks him in the shoulder with a quick needle. He then presents a gown.

“Time to strip outta that turtleneck.” 

“What was that you just poked me with?”

“Nothing. A sedative. Wear this.” 

“Okay. I don’t know why you’re smiling, but whatever. Let me see in the light … Uh, privacy?”

“Nothing we haven’t seen before.”

“I don’t know …” Joe uneasily scratches his neck. 

“We are professionals,” Benny, the assistant, says with another poisonous smile. Joe consents. The two guys then talk amongst themselves.

“He seems to have been in a period of diapause.”

“I concur. Do you suspect menopause as well?”

“I believe so. And he has a diaphragm as well?”

“I checked, right next to his phalanges.”

With that kind of talk, Joe can’t help but to believe he’ll be all right. The comforting tone of healthcare workers saying indecipherable things juxtaposes nicely with their thrifty cost of service.

“We need to inspect your body.”

Joe stands naked in the empty truck. Benny is rustling through a few drawers. The doctor looks at Joe, unimpressed.

“You bang your Asian girlfriend with that thing?”

As Joe explains about his sister, Benny seems to find what he was searching for. With a rounded power saw held behind him, he performs a signal to the doctor out of Joe’s sight. At once, they pull down a bench from the inside wall and sit Joe down. The doctor starts to strap his patient’s arms in. Benny is just behind them, searching for the batteries to his tool. This is gonna be fun! he whispers to himself.

“Where am I right now?” Joe mutters, finding himself hilarious.

“That’s just the sedative kicking in,” responds the doctor, moving closer to make sure his patient is in no state to interrupt what they are about to do. CLICK, the batteries are in. The buzzing roar of the saw dominates all corners within the truck. Nos vemos …

When the doctor reaches in to check Joe’s diminishing heart rate, he spots something very peculiar behind his ear. Tattooed there is a small red wasp, of all things. Well, that changes plans.

(Turn off, güey.)

(But, what?)

“(Turn it off, already!) He’s one of them.”

The doctor points to the space behind his own ear. The saw immediately cuts off, as Benny seems to understand this gesture. While the tool gets put away, the doctor taps on Joe’s face, urging him to wake up.

“What?! Did I miss the parade?” Joe says.

“Seems like you have a tremor in the lagena due to damage on your cupula.”

“I see — ”

“But you don’t need no surgery, homes. Just an anti-histamine.”

“Look at God.”

“You’re gonna feel a little sting … Oh, nope, sorry, that’s my … my injections I take, you know, to get … Anyway … Here’s yours. All right, just a little sting and, listo. There you go. You’ll be fine.”

“Here’s your clothes,” says Benny, now holding nothing but Joe’s belongings.

Joe slips into them and says, “Thank you guys.”

(Care for yourself.)

Joe exits the truck onto the street. At the moment, no sign of his sister.

“Teresa?”

“Over here!” she yells from the other side of the truck. Joe jogs over and finds her eating a Tear Jerker. “They fix you yet?”

“Yeah, it was pretty easy. I told ya.”

“Good, ‘cuz this tonta over here is taking a long-ass time to — long-fucking time .”

“What did you call me?” asks the person from within the truck (on the current side).

“I said, (‘You can eat me out, fat bitch, daughter of a’—)”

“I can’t understand you!”

“Who is this lady? She sounds country. Not like California country, but lost-in-the-Midwest-somewhere country.”

“I’m from Reno.”

“Huh, we from the same place then.”

The rattling from inside the truck stops.

“Look. You Mexicans need to realize that you can’t just cross the border and take over everythang. Us true Americans work hard to earn a living here, and y’all comes’n change our language. I mean, really, look at a sign in Southern California. You can’t find one that’s not in Spanish ‘cuz ah you damn Mehi-cans. God’s sakes, can’t you just give up? When an able person rules the world again, we will see who runs this country better; a guera like me or a mud-scooter like you!”

She stops to wind down off of her emotive outburst.

“So, stop cussing at me! It ain’t cute anymore.”

“Well, Teresa here is Filipino, so …”

“Oh, shut up.” Her face scrunches up from the sourness of her ice cream. “Why are you in Mexico if you can’t understand Spanish, lady? ‘Cuz we can talk the same shit about you,” Teresa says.

“Well, by that sign, I’d say you’re in Californ-i-a now.”

She points, and at the moment it seems factually true.

“So you — hold on.”

Joe runs to the other side of the truck and asks Benny, “What country am I in?”

Los Estados Unidos—

“Really?”

—de  México.”

“Oh.” 

He runs back and asks the ice cream lady, to which she replies, “The United States.”

“Of what?”

“Of America, dipshit.”

“So, you mean one side of this truck is in America and the other is in Mexico? And it’s a doctor’s clinic?”

“It is? I never knew there was another side,” says the lady.

“Really. Come look.”

The lady dismounts the truck and scrambles with Joe and Teresa to the other side.

“I just got cured by these guys.”

(Hello, gringa. Welcome to Mexico.)

“See, there are Mexicans on this side. How did you even get this job not knowing part of your truck was in another country?” asks Teresa.

“It was a long process. You know, do the interview, sign them dang contracts, get a physical, and oddly I hadda show my passport. Now it all make sense.”

“No! That makes no type of sense! Why should you have to go through a flipping process for being an ice cream truck driver? Hell, you don’t even drive it. You’re just a truck-sitter.”

“I take my jobs very seriously, hun.”

(What a moron.)

“Let’s leave, ‘mano,” says Teresa. “I got to go to work. Plus, Mamá is expecting you to wipe the dishes. It’s getting cold.”

“See, who’s smart for wearing a turtleneck now?”

“Ahh!” cry the doctor and Benny. “He has to do chores, ese!”

“Ah-ha, go do your chores for mommy!”

Still a little loopy, Joe flicks his sister off as they make their way home. The ice cream lady and the faux-doctors notice each other once more.

“Well, it was nice to meet y’all. Just don’t bring any of them Mexican rats over to my side.”

“Can do, señora,” says Benny, rolling his eyes. They make their return to the clinic side.

The lady doubles back to say, “Hey. That was some racket y’all was making a lil’ bit ago. Did I hear a saw?” The crows’ feet around her eyes shift momentarily from spite to worry.

“No, no,” Benny says. “Let’s just say your recent customers almost ran into some peligro, you know? Trouble. But he’s with Poza Roja, and we don’t mess with those goons. Ni modo, ese.”

The lady frowns, concerned, and goes back to her side. The last of the earth’s heat escapes, making way for a cold black night. She steps on a few red droplets of Tear Jerker.

“Goons?”

. . .

Hola. ¿Mamá?

On entry they hear banging from the walls, a wet suctioning noise. Brother and sister look nervously between each other, posing the same fear of what could be. That’s not our Mamá, is it? A few grunts leave the bathroom. Then they prepare. One, two …

“Hey, m’hijo, hija. I’m just plunging this toilet. There’s a snake caught somewhere in the drain. Musta thought he was in hole or something. Think he’s dead now.” 

“Oh, thank God. I guess.”

Yuck.

Curiosity calls on Joe to stay and watch, but Teresa’s face persuades otherwise. She splits, leaving her brother.

“So, you’re ready for work, m’hija?”

“Teresa went to the room. It’s just me.”

“Oh. Well, how was the job search today? You know, this isn’t Reno. We need to make money, (and soon, my love.)”

“I haven’t found nothing yet, but I’m working on it.”

Joe’s Mamá smiles at this.

“You were making good money for a while. Sometimes you quit before you’re ahead, but — Ah, I won’t say nothing.”

Mamá keeps plunging. He is unclear on what exactly will pop out, though clear is his place in the world. Evil. Disgusting. Sick. He knows it will come to surface.

Teresa ventures to the living room, sounds of mangling echo from down the hall.

“Remy!” for lying on the couch is he.

“Damn, don’t yell like that.”

“You hear this mess going on in the bathroom, ¿o no?” she says to Remy.

“Yeah. I’m trying to make it fade away.”

“Oh my God. You’re stoned again, aren’t you?”

“Don’t blame me. It’s my medication. I’m hebephrenic with, uh — borderline personality. (This herb that cures me, vata.)”

“Borderline ? If anything, you’re borderline crazy, and lazy as hell. And you don’t need a doctor to tell you that. I can’t believe you show your face around here after you went and screwed that little guatemalteca. And in our apartment, Remy! The one I was paying all the bills for, so basically, my apartment. You’re such an a-hole, ¿sabías?

“Did we really break up? Everything feels like a dream. I can’t tell what’s real or fake anymore.”

“That’s ‘cuz you’re frigging high, idiot. Besides, the only ‘dream’ you claimed to have was of you cheating, conveniently. Why don’t you go and help your ex-suegra in the bathroom, you bum?”

“Oh. I’m afraid of snakes ‘cuz Medusa was a snake, and she used to turn foo’s into stone,” Remy explains.

“Medusa was not a snake, dumbass. She was a woman — ”

“Wrong, dummy! She’s a myth. She doesn’t exist, dummy. Haha! Dummy.”

Ehhhhya!

A terrifying scream comes from the bathroom. Joe runs out to find Remy and Teresa chatting. He then stops, scratches his ears and breathes heavily.

“Interesting echo in this house,” he says.

“The hell …?”

Mamá follows with the snake clenched in her hand. She smiles over her trophy as it squirms.

“It’s alive!” she yells. “Guess we’ll have meat for the tacos tonight.”

“Who screamed? Was that you, Mamá?” asks Teresa.

“No!” cries Remy, pointing his finger.

“Joe, you scream like an old wrinkly bitch,” Teresa says.

“Come on, it was like I was watching Aliens or something when she pulled it out. I thought it was dead.”

“Whatever, Hoe — ” Remy starts, but Joe cuts him off.

“You better shut the fuck up, cabrón,” he says, ready to pounce at Remy with full force. Before a fight can ensue, Mamá grabs Joe and takes his complaining-behind to her bedroom.

“Jo-oe … What did I say about cursing in my home? This is a devout household.”

“Yeah, but that freak knows how to say the word ‘Joe,’ he’s from freaking Texas! I don’t see how he gets away with calling me a hoe all the time. Hoe, hoe, hoe, like he’s Santa Claus or something, with his fat ugly self. He needs to get a job. And a house.”

“Why are you so hostile?” she asks him sweetly. “I understand your anger, but he’s going through rough times like us all. Besides, you could use both those things yourself.”

“I don’t know, I —”

“Did you take drugs? You look a little off, m’hijo.”

“Hell yeah, I’m off. Not ‘cuz of pills, Mamá. It’s because of that foo’ in there.”

“Well, I know you like wide hips.”

“I mean, I’ll be all right, I — Wide hips?”

Mamá smiles, slipping in, “I saw Emily today. She said you guys passed by.”

“Hu-huh. Yeah.”

“Why you smiling?” she asks, bumping him with an elbow.

“I don’t know.”

“Cheese, cheese, cheese. You look like Chucky-the-Cheese smiling like that.”

“No, stop! You can’t tickle a grown man like that … She was just watering her garden,” Joe says.

“Yeah, she said you helped her water her garden.”

They sit with that possibly gross notion for a few moments.

“You know I worry about you. You never really had a serious girlfriend. Normally I say nothing, but, what am I — “

“No, Ma!”

“I’m just looking out for you.”

They are both pulled by an inclination to look at the doorway exactly half a second before Teresa appears there. She’s dressed in her nursing clothes.

“Going to the hospital. Don’t worry about staying up, I got the keys.” Mamá nods. “Oh. Remy said he’s found a job on the other side of the border. Says he doesn’t need no paperwork, and there’s two open spots.”

“Good. Tell him Joe needs a job.”

Mamá tosses the viscous slitherer into Joe’s arms. He catches it by instinct, squeals like a mouse, and faints.

****

Chapter 3 coming soon

Slang words for House and Home | English & A Story ‘Soft Place Baby Bed’

Welcome to my house, we don’t have to go-wo out …” 

It’s a good thing you didn’t hear me sing that! To pick up on the topic though, we’re going to look at some different ways to refer to someone’s house. Well, the most popular slang ways, that is. There are multiple words one might use to describe a person’s house in English, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s. Some of these words can make the house sound better and others are … a lot less flattering. 

When referring to a small place (or when being sarcastic) people often refer to their home as a “humble abode.” Some people take it to the next level and call it a shack (hence the expression, shacking up). When people get a little carried away, they might say “hizzouse” or something like it. There are so many types of houses too. For example, a cabin, a duplex, townhome, country home, condo, split-level, etc., etc. Okay, swell. But what about common slang terms for a house?

Read More


Crib

From my African-American perspective, this has got to be the most common slang for “house”. Literally, a crib is a protective bed where we usually put babies to sleep. It’s a comfortable, safe place, so maybe this led to cribs being used to talk about homes. This is one of the more common slang words for a house, at least in the U.S. This is especially due to the show, MTV Cribs, ever since it started airing (and re-airing). 

  • Do you want to go to the crib and play video games? 

Spot

Spot has a lot of different meanings in English. Being slang for a house is one of them. Given all these many meanings of spot, it can sound a little more vague or ambiguous than other words when referring to your house. This is especially since “spot” is sometimes used to refer to a place in general. Note, this is very similar to the use of “place” to specifically talk about a house. Check the links below to learn more!

  • We should go to his spot after the movie. (Similarly, “go to his place”)

Pad

A pad in normal English is something nice and soft. It’s mostly used to soften a physical impact or any other kind of damage. I don’t know why we’d call a house that, but maybe it’s because a home is our safe place? So, possibly similar to “crib.” Again, these are mostly American slang, so I don’t know how extensively this word and the others are used in all English-speaking countries. 

  • So, what do you think of my new pad?

So these are just a couple of the most common slang you might use to talk about a house in English, or at least the American variety. There are many other ways to refer to a house in an informal, exaggerated, or silly way. You can check the links below for more information.

Also, below is a short story with dialogue to show you how today’s words might be used in context. Check it out if you like! Thanks, and take care out there.


Soft Place Baby Bed – slang words for ‘house’

 — There we are. Wanna come in?

Sheila turned a wide grin at her friend, Charles. In the happiest way possible, she urged him to come into her house. Charles, on the other hand, was utterly shocked.

 — Wow, I didn’t know your house was so big, he said. — Don’t you ever get lost?

Sheila brushed away his statement and pushed him along. He had good reason to be nervous; it was his first time alone with Sheila, a friend he’d been crushing on the past few months. The friend zone is a hard wall to cross, but a big house with no one in it could be the “tunnel” underneath he was looking for. Suddenly, he wasn’t so nervous after all. They arrived at the front gates.

 — Ready to see my crib? she laughed and led her friend further.

Once inside the front gates, they came to a yard filled with strange objects. There were plastic women and rubber bones lying on the ground. Mixed in with the dry scattered leaves, the yard looked like a sort of toy wasteland. 

They eventually made it past the garden and into the house. Sheila shut the high wooden doors behind her and revealed her world to Charles. 

 — So, this is my pad. Sorry about the mess. I picked up a couple’a side gigs while I wait for my album to finish. Covid kinda ruined my schedule. I know! Let’s go upstairs. I can show you my room.

She stuck out a hand and grabbed onto Charles. Before he could figure out where he was, they had already arrived at her room. Was this his moment? “This is finally it!” he thought to himself.

BWAAA!

The sound of a thousand babies flushed into both of their ears. Okay, it was just two, but they were yelling super loudly. 

 — Oh, crap! I forgot about you two! 

Sheila rushed over to pull the two babies out of their tiny beds, repeating “Sorry, sorry” to them. 

 — I know you were talking about your house, but I didn’t know you were gonna show me your actual “cribs,” Charles told her. 

He reached his arms out to help hold one of the babies. She cried for a minute but soon relaxed against his chest.

 — Look at you! You’re a natural with the kids.

Charles felt extremely uncomfortable, but he couldn’t deny how nice it felt to hold the baby girl. 

 — If you say so. What’s her name?

 — That is Janey, and this here’s little Maxy. She stroked Maxy with her hands.— Sorry I couldn’t show you the house. I know you really wanted to see more of my place. 

That was just part of the plan, Charles thought, but okay. 

 — It’s fine. The house is really nice. But next time let’s go to my spot, alright?

Sheila laughed and agreed. After sitting a while the babies were finally asleep. 

 — Shh! Look, they’re sleeping, she advised Charles. 

He nodded, and Sheila tapped the bedside next to her as if to invite him to come sit closer. Charles got up and sat next to Sheila. They smiled wide at each other, then he reached his hand over to fix her hair. Then …

BAH-BAH-BAH-WAH!

 — Oh, no, I forgot … I also take care of dogs!

To be continued …

Want to collaborate or contact me personally? Shoot me a message at tietewaller@gmail.com or go to the Give Me a Shout! page 🙂

Careful looking outward – How to use expressions with ‘Watch’ (watch out, watch it, & more)

Looking at a kangaroo juggle fire can be interesting. But watching a kangaroo juggle fire is a lot better. The difference between “look” and “watch” is often a struggle for English learners to understand, but consider this; “watching” is like “looking” more attentively.

Look = just using your eyes to observe something.

Watch = looking at something and paying attention to / processing what is happening.

Watch

That’s part of the idea behind some informal meanings of “watch.” In some situations, people may use watch as a way to tell someone to be careful. This relates to someone paying attention, usually because they’re being a little careless.

  • Watch your step. The sidewalk is very uneven here.

Watch it

This is similar to the term watch it which has the same meaning, telling someone to be careful. When said in a disciplinary tone, it can be used to warn someone about their (bad) behavior too.

  • Watch it. The drivers at this intersection don’t check for pedestrians.
  • You better watch it! I told you to stop being rude.

Watch yourself / your back / your mouth + more

Oftentimes, “watch it” can be short for expressions like watch your mouth or watch yourself. All of these have the same general meaning of being careful with what you say. We usually say this to people who are acting wildly, saying offensive things or simply behaving badly. You may also hear people use several variations of this, like “watch what you say,” “watch your words,” “watch your tone,” “watch your back,” and so on. That last one, by the way, is more of a threat than the others.

  • Nina from third period called you ugly? I hope you told her to watch her mouth.
  • Excuse me, Sir! You are being extremely rude. You need to watch yourself.
  • You better watch your back when you come around here next time.

Watch out!

Another precautionary expression that is pretty popular is watch out. Telling someone to “watch out” is the same as saying be careful. This is usually because something is putting them in danger, although the danger could be physical or otherwise. When telling someone to be careful about something specific, we would tell them to “watch out for” that thing.

  • Whenever they tell George of the Jungle to “watch out for that tree,” he always ends up hitting it anyway.

Those are some of the key points you’ll want to know about the expressions using “watch.” How would you use these in a sentence? Have you heard these expressions before? Let us hear your thoughts!

Below is a short story, part of the Adventures of Charles series where we explore the above terms in their everyday usage. If you like stories and want to get some reading practice in, I encourage you to read along!


Careful looking outward – Short Story

Nothing could be heard but the rush of the wind blowing into the open windows. The sight, on the other hand, was much more beautiful. There was a mountain on one side covered in emerald grass and a few heads of cactus; the dark gray asphalt extended and curved out ahead of them, lined down the middle with yellow stripes the whole way; the crashing waves of the ocean burst onto the rocky shores. The most scenic part of it all that Charles could place his eyes on was Sheila, who was sitting next to him in the driver’s seat.

–All right! You ready to drive? she asked him.

–Who, me? Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t driven since I came to this country. I don’t really feel safe.

–Come on, it’s like riding a bike! Sheila insisted.

The two hopped out of the blue BMW M and traded seats. Charles suddenly noticed how new and, especially, how fast the car looked.

–You’ll do fine. Just don’t crash us into the ocean.

Sheila said this as a joke, but it didn’t make him feel any better. Charles started the car, shifted gear, and drove off. For a minute he felt pretty comfortable. Hey, I could get the hang of this. He was so relaxed that he started looking off at the waves, the green hillside, and got stuck on Sheila’s charming face. From the cheeks to the eyes, down to the nose, and then the chin …

–Make sure you watch the road, yeah?

Charles suddenly jerked the steering wheel, making the whole car jump until he could settle it. At that moment, a big rig truck started coming at them from the other direction.

Watch it

When he saw the truck hurling his way, Charles panicked and turned sharply onto a narrow stony road. He kept going from there.

–I’ll hand it to you. I never have come down this road, Sheila said in a sarcastic tone.

–Where did I take us? Oh, son of a–

–Hey! Watch your mouth. There’s a lady present.

Sheila snickered at her own comment. Charles pulled the car over to contemplate. After about a minute, they noticed a rumbling coming over the countryside. They both looked at each other, like, What is that? A few dark spots peeked over the green pastures until the hills were suddenly covered with them. One of the creatures ran towards the BMW, apparently interested in the vibrant paint job.

–What are those things? asked Charles.

–You’ve never seen these? They’re called bison, I think.

And bison, they were. A curious cow nearest them was licking Sheila’s rearview mirror, comically trying to check her teeth. She gave a hard sneeze and fogged the mirror, then she ran away to graze on some grass.

Sheila then said, –Hey, I’ve got an idea. Put the car into reverse, and try to make it back to the highway.

–Why reverse? Charles replied. –Can’t I just go straight?

–There’s a lot more bison ahead of us, and if you scare them they might stampede. You just have to steer, you’ll be fine.

–That’s what you said the last time.

Sucking up all the confidence he could find, he put the car into reverse and started backing up. The bison initially weren’t interested in the two of them at all. That was until Charles accidentally revved up the motor really loud, and all the bison started to scatter.

–Go faster, faster! We have to get out of here!

Charles steered one way and Sheila grabbed the wheel trying to steer another. The bumps and stones on the ground made the car jump and shake uncontrollably. They crisscrossed through bison, being extra careful (or extra lucky) not to hit any of them. After being nearly frightened to death, somehow Charles was able to get them past the maze of bison and onto the highway again. To Sheila’s surprise though, one stray bison had made its way onto the pavement, and a car was coming right at it.

Watch out, little bison! she yelled.

The sound of screeches and the smell of hot rubber filled the air around them. Charles and Sheila shut their eyes in horror. When they opened them again, they were surprised to see the other car stopped to a complete halt. The bison, probably the same cow that had come to Sheila’s car, was at the other car now, licking the rearview mirror as before.

–Oh, thank God, Sheila sighed. –That was too close.

Charles looked at her now, smiling.

–So, how did I do? Ready to drive back?

Sheila was quick to respond, “Ohh, that is okay. I’d better take over on this one.”

Lead fame hit | What is ‘Clout’? – with dialogue

a businessman and his colleagues in the office, resembling the meaning of clout in business, politics, etc.
Yan Krukov

Meanings of Clout

Welcome to another post and yet another word explanation … sort of. Today’s focus is on “clout,” a word that has resurged up into popularity lately. Clout in normal situations has a couple of different meanings already. It can be a hit or a strike, and also some kind of cloth.

But we don’t want to focus on those definitions. If you’re looking this up, you’re likely searching for the most common use for this word in — American English, anyway — which is having strong influence either in business, politics, or some field related to these.

Read more: Clout in the learner’s dictionary

This meaning, though, has slightly changed in recent times. In some casual or slang contexts, usually in music or on social media, clout refers to general fame or recognition. Someone with clout is in control, calls the shots, and makes the decisions. It’s pretty much the same as being popular.

Read: Clout in the Urban Dictionary

Also, having clout on social media is having lots of popularity (on those media platforms), having lots of followers, getting lots of attention, and so on. Sometimes people who are looking to be more popular or chasing after fame and influence are called clout chasers.

Oh, and perhaps you’ve heard of this?

.

Like I said, these meanings are all pretty close to the same thing. Still, informally, clout is more about having fame online or being popular when you go places. The traditional meaning is less about having showy popularity where everybody knows you and more about having real power and leverage to make big changes. This is often in an elite field like politics or business.

Below is a short story featuring the characters from Adventures of Charles. Here, clout is explored with some more or less realistic examples, if you care to see that. Either way, thanks for stopping by. Good luck with your English studies!

‘Lead fame hit’

clout used in sentences

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What a weird story! I can’t believe you and Jonah saw all of those crystals, though. That must have been amazing. You’ll have to take me on your next trip.

Read previous story: Depth trap dive

Charles looked over at his friend, Sheila, with a smile as she steered the wheel. She had a way of making everything seem exciting. Oh, and she made driving look so cool.

–I know, it was amazing! The crystals were just beyond belief.

I guess Charles was also good at that.

Sheila thought for a moment, then decided to say, –I just don’t know how you guys afford these elaborate vacations. Are you guys, like, secretly rich or something? ‘Cus you need to tell me if you are.

Charles laughed and decided to tell the truth.

–Well, you know, I have nothing to do with it. Jonah is the one with all the connections. I think he has some clout with the airlines because of his cousin, so they let him travel when he wants.

  • He has some influence or leverage with this company, he has a certain amount of power and freedom with them.

–That’s dope! she responded enthusiastically, paying closer attention to the street signs now. Charles watched as the red and green streetlights skimmed over her face. –It must be good to have a friend like that.

–Well, I’m sure you have clout too in the music world. You could probably walk into a club and everybody would know who are. And want to buy a drink for you, too.

  • I’m sure you have influence, I’m sure that you are popular in the music world.

Sheila laughed.

–Hey! I ain’t that famous. Not yet, anyway. But I do wish I could get some of that clout on Instagram or something. My songs aren’t reaching the right audiences yet.

  • Get some popularity, more attention, influence on Instagram.

Charles placed a hand on her shoulder, about to say, “Don’t worry, grasshopper. Your time will come,” or something like that. But before he could shed his words, Sheila jerked her neck and turned to the side, pointing her finger at a dark corner building.

–Oh my God! That’s the old studio, she said.

–Really? Charles replied. –It looks barren.

–I know, huh? Let’s go record something! I bet you they still have all the old equipment.

As he undid his seatbelt, Charles nodded and replied, –Old equipment? Look out! Now you’ll really be famous.

Sheila parked the car at the corner by the dark-looking ruin of a building. Charles then took a deep breath, and they went in.

To be continued …

“Depth trap dive”- figurative meanings and uses of ‘Deep’

the bright entrance of a large dark cave, representing the literal meaning of deep
Ian Chen

The guys didn’t know it, but they were looking down a deep hole. Well, a cave or sinkhole would be the technical terms. Charles was sweating in the heat of the beating sun. His helmet smudged the dirt on his forehead. He looked over to his friend, Jonah, to see how he was getting along.

–So, how do you feel about going down? You’re not having second thoughts, are you? Charles asked.

Jonah responded, –What? Second thoughts! I’m not scared. Besides, we paid all that money to go down into this deep hole.

–Oh, I’m not scared. I was just making sure you weren’t gonna run at the last minute. Life is too short to miss out on self-enriching opportunities like … deep cave diving.

Jonah laughed a bit.

–Wow, I didn’t know you were so deep, my friend.

Deep

“Deep” normally has the meaning of something with a large depth, like deep water or a deep hole, in this case. As a figurative expression deep has a similar meaning of depth or something being profound. The difference is that it has to do with a topic or idea that is very thoughtful, meaningful, or sincere. Sometimes people can say this in a sarcastic way, but the idea is still the same.

Read more: some literal and figurative meanings of Deep

Besides, we paid all that money to go down into this deep hole.

  • To go down into a hole with a lot of physical depth, deep into the earth.

–Wow, I didn’t know you were so deep, my friend.

  • I didn’t know you were so thoughtful, that you had such profound and meaningful ideas.

.

Storytime …

Charles told him, –Yeah, I’m always coming up with cool ideas. I’m starting to really consider leaving my job at the college and just working full-time at the theater. It’s the pandemic anyway, so forget it.

At that moment, the caving instructor, Amy, found the two friends chatting.

–Okay, that’s all the equipment, fellas. Ready to go spelunking? Amy asked.

Jonah and Charles gazed at each other with a dumbfound look. A lightbulb then clicked over Jonah’s head.

–Ohhh! You mean cave diving. I had to think for a second.

Amy laughed and took the lead moving downward into the deep dark cavern. Jonah followed soon before Charles and talked with him on the way down.

–So you said you’re going to do stage design full time. How’s that going?

Charles told him, –I don’t know. I’d like to just walk away and commit to the theater, but I’m afraid I might be in too deep with the financial department.

.

In Deep – Deep Into

Taking in the same meaning of “deep,” being deep into something gives the sense that one is deeply committed to a situation or person. This could be a positive thing, like being in a serious relationship. However, it can also give off the sense that someone is into something they can’t escape from. This can show that the person is in some kind of trouble they can’t get out of. The same idea comes from the expression in deep, though this one is usually for romantic situations.

… but I’m afraid I might be in too deep with the financial department.

  • I might have too big of a commitment, too much to risk, I might be stuck at my current job. Also could say, “I might be too deep in with my job.”

.

Storytime …

Jonah tried to sympathize with his friend’s predicament.

–That is a touch choice. I mean, do you choose the job you want and love, or do you stick around at that boring financial department? Sounds like you’re in the deep end.

.

Deep end

Being in the deep end has a very similar meaning to “in deep.” The idea is still of being under pressure, underwater, or on your toes. It’s a difficult situation to get out of, a hard place to leave from. In other words, “You’re stuck.”

Sounds like you’re in the deep end.

  • It sounds like you’re in a difficult place, have a really tough decision, have nowhere to run to.

.

Storytime …

–Are you all okay? asked Amy. She looked up from the dark with a bright smile on her face.

The two men gave her one thumbs-up each. Before they knew it they had reached the cave floor. Charles opened his mouth to say another deep thought when he was interrupted by a swarm of bats. They screeched and squealed over the three humans, trying to find a place to hide.

Jonah screamed out, –Oh, crap! These are the bats that had the Corona. Fight! Run!

Jonah and Charles started swatting at the little creatures while Amy sat patiently. Jonah didn’t like that.

–What the heck are you doing, Amy? You need to come and help us kill these Covid-19 bats. They just flew in about 50-deep and there’s only three of us here. We need to band together.

.

Deep

So, this use of deep is a little less common than the others. Saying this refers to an amount of people, normally said with a number and then the object. It is supposed to refer to people anyway, but as you can see, Jonah uses it in a joking way to refer to bats. It’s also mostly used to say that “X” amount of people/creatures arrived at a place. Using “deep” in this way is probably more regional and I’m not sure if it’s common outside of my region or country. Still, you may hear it at some point.

They just flew in about 50-deep and there’s only three of us here

  • They flew in with fifty individuals, fifty of them arrived together.

The Ending …

Charles had the same thought as Jonah.

–Yeah, Amy. Why aren’t you doing anything?

Their instructor only turned her head. As the cloud of bats began to clear, she pointed a light at the back of the cave and splayed her luminous smile.

–Look over there!

The two friends immediately turned their heads and found what they had been “spelunking” all this time for. There were several huge columns of stalagmites and crystals shining from the top to the rocky bottom. The friends were utterly shocked, and Charles felt moved to say something.

–Mother Earth must love us humans to offer us such a beautiful sight.

Amy smiled and looked over at Jonah.

–Wow, you’re friend is so deep!

**Read more Adventures of Charles and learn other English expressions and slang. Contact me for a personal message or to collaborate at tietewaller@gmail.com. Follow to get emailed every time a new article is posted. Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves! Peace.

‘Get police bad excuse’ – meanings & uses of Cop, Cop-out

If you’ve listened to English for long enough, you’ve probably heard the word “cop” before. It can have a couple of different meanings, though. We’ll take a look at these differing definitions with some explanations and some dialogue using our old trusty friend, Charles. Let’s read along!

Cop (n)

wi.ng o

Like I said, Cop can have a number of meanings in English slang. The most common meaning is a “police officer.” This use is used a lot by people all over the world and is not seen as particularly informal or rude to say. Copper is a more old-fashioned or silly way to say this, but it means the same thing. Don’t confuse it with the metal, copper, though.

dialogue

Jonah was rustling through his carry-on bag as the airplane gates closed. In his movements he disturbed Charles a bit, knocking him with his elbows. Other passengers were looking at him suspiciously.

Charles — What are you doing, man? You lose something? You keep hitting me with your arms, making everybody nervous.

Jonah — Oh, my fault. I’m just checking here. Gotta make sure I don’t have any weapons on me.

Charles — What are you talking about? Security already checked all that.

Jonah — Didn’t you hear the flight attendant? They said the cops are coming on the plane to search for some criminal.

  • The police are coming.

Charles — Well, it isn’t you. I hope …

Some police officers stepped onto the plane. Jonah started to panic.

Jonah — Oh, shoot! It’s the coppers. Put your head down!

  • It’s the police (in a silly or sarcastic tone).

.

To Cop (v)

“Cop” has a different meaning when used as a verb. To Cop can mean to get or obtain something, usually from buying it. In this way, it’s normally used as “cop something,” as in, some object or item.

Read more: Cop

dialogue

Some of the nearby passengers gave Jonah a weird look. He was seriously being overly dramatic.

Charles — Calm down! Why in the world are you so scared for? You’re just going to call more attention to yourself.

Jonah — Nah, they’re probably gonna try to arrest me. I got all this cash on me. And look at my watch! It’s way too fancy to go with this face.

He pointed at himself in the face. This made Charles laugh.

Charles — You’re crazy. Where’d you get that watch from anyway? It’s nice.

Jonah — Oh, this old thing? I copped it from that rapper you went to see over on the east side.

  • I bought it, he gave it to me, I received it in some way.

Charles — Really? You know Lil B Dowry?

.

Cop out (v)

Another use is as a phrasal verb, combined to make it “cop out.” This is when someone doesn’t stay true to who they are. It is mostly used when someone becomes rich, famous, successful, or just has their reputation threatened. These situations can make a person do things that are not like them, act in a “bad” character, or with poor morals. In a similar way, to Cop out can also be when someone falls back on something they promised to do. This usually isn’t malicious or intentional, but it is a way for the person to escape responsibility or not admit to doing something. It often is when the person is afraid to face the consequences of their actions.

dialogue

Jonah — Yeah, I know him. He’s a cool dude. He gave me this watch, afterall.

Charles — I thought he lived in a much nicer part of town. He’s a smart guy and he’s always dressed up nice.

Jonah — Well, I’m not surprised. Most of these rappers come from neighborhoods like that. Then they all cop out and forget who their friends are. Sad.

  • They all forget where they came from, stop caring about their friends, change their character.

At this moment, the police were finishing their search and were leaving the airplane. Jonah hadn’t noticed.

Charles — I’m sure he won’t do that. Lil B seems pretty down-to-earth. I can’t see him turning his back on people like that.

Jonah — I’m just saying, he wouldn’t be the first artist from the hood who says he’s gonna help out his block only to get rich and then cop out on everybody. Anyway, let me finish hiding my watch …

  • And then turn his back on everybody, then forget about everybody, then not do what he promised to do.

Charles — For what? The police left already. You’re a free man.

Jonah gave a big smile and jerked his knee, accidentally kicking the seat in front of him.

.

Cop-out (n)

Cop-out can also be a noun. In this case, it is describing a person who has “copped out,” or gone back on their promise, done things that don’t fit their character. A similar expression in English is a “sell-out.” A sell-out (person) can sell out (action) and do things that go against their morals just for fame, wealth, success, or other reasons. It’s essentially the same idea as “cop-out.” A Cop-out can also be the excuse itself used by a person to escape consequences.

dialogue

Passenger — Excuse me! Can you stop kicking my chair?

Jonah — So sorry, sir. Won’t happen again.

Then he turned to Charles.

Jonah — Now we’re home-free! And it’s a good thing because I was totally gonna cop out and say you stole whatever they were looking for.

  • I was totally going to take the easy way out, was going to lie so I wouldn’t get in trouble, run away from the consequences.

Charles — Gee, thanks. I’m sure that cop-out would’ve worked.

  • I’m sure that lie would’ve worked, that bad excuse.

Jonah — Welp, are you ready for this trip? It’s your first time out of the state, right?

Charles — Yeah, kinda. I always get nervous on planes. It’ll be nice to see another part of the country, though.

The engines revved up and the plane started to move. Habitually, Charles started to pray and kissed his hands.

Jonah — That’s what I’m talking about! Even in a foreign country, you keep your traditions. That’s what I mean by not being a cop-out! Don’t sell out your traditions, don’t forget where you come from.

  • Not being a sell-out, not giving up on your identity, not changing who you are.

Charles — Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s just enjoy the flight, okay?

Jonah — Enjoy? I’m relaxed as can be. I don’t know what you’re so scared about anyway!

Charles bumped his friend in the ribs with his elbow.

Charles — So, now I’m the scared one?

Last thoughts

I would say by far, the most common use of Cop is relating to police. This will probably be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds. Cop out is also very common and used across the U.S., if not the world. Talking about police, “cop” is the most common slang word for a police officer, even though there are several others. It is also the least offensive and most neutral term for the police.

Copping something is more of a regional slang and I don’t think it’s as common for so many English speakers. I’m sure lots of people understand it, but it is the least used meaning out of the others we talked about here.

**Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you to better understand these expressions. Can you use “cop” or “cop-out” in your own sentences? Comment below! And feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or if you want to collaborate on the page (tietewaller@gmail.com). You’re more than welcome! Until next time. Peace.

Contact me: Give me a Shout!

“Catch work trap device” – meaning and use of ‘Trap, Trapping’

From “Beez in the Trap” to “Trap Queen“, trapping has become a part of mainstream and popular English slang nowadays. Lots of native speakers are now getting used to this fun little word. But what about all my learners out there? Do you know what a “trap” is? We’ll take a look and explain what this word is and how to use it. To do that, we’ll read some dialogues with our favorite character, Charles. (To find other short stories and dialogues where I explain English expressions, check out Adventures of Charles) All set? Here we go …

The Trap

brown mouse inside mouse trap, representing the slang meaning of "trap"
by ardeshir etemad, Pexels.com

Explain

First of all, the trap can refer to a place. Normally, a “trap” is a situation or device used to trick someone or capture something. Think of a mousetrap used to catch mice. Well in slang, the trap has been used a lot to talk about a place, sometimes an actual house (trap house), where drug deals happened. I know, that’s a little dark. It’s also been used to talk about a place where any illegal activities and transactions happen on a regular basis.

On a similar tone, sometimes it’s used to talk about the “hood” or lower-class neighborhoods in general. That’s probably because these kinds of neighborhoods have usually been where you could find a trap house. Now, the whole block is considered a “trap.” This is also where you get names like trap queen and trap music, now a whole subgenre of hip hop.

Dialogue

One thing had been on Charles’s mind for the longest time: Sheila. But he’d heard some rumors about her that he wanted to clear up. One man knew more about Sheila than anybody else, and Charles was in the neighborhood to find him.

Charles — Okay, I hope this is the right stop. Goodness, what is this place? It’s so dirty and empty. I better find this guy soon … before it gets dark.

A boy from the neighborhood came up to Charles, noticing he was kind of lost.

Local boy — Hey, yo. What’s your name? You looking for the trap or what?

  • Are you looking for the drug house, looking to buy some illegal things?

Charles — Who, me? No. I mean, sorry. I’m not from around here. I’m just looking for somebody.

Local boy — I figured, cuz I ain’t ever seen you around here before. Why you look all scared? You never been to a trap before?

  • Haven’t you ever been to a hood, a ghetto, a poor neighborhood before?

Charles’s nervousness was showing all over his face.

Charles — No, I mean … I don’t know. I didn’t know there were places like this in this city. It’s so different. Just trying to find somebody.

Explain

All illegal activity aside, nowadays a trap can also be a place where one makes their money or just spends their time. It’s a bit more sarcastic used this way though. The idea is still of a place or situation that is hard to get out of. Trap is also used to refer to trap music in general, in the sense of “listening to trap.”

Dialogue

Local boy — I could help you find “somebody.” You know her name? What street is she on?

Charles — Oh, no, it’s a he. I’m looking for this rapper or singer or whatever– He records at the studio on Wilmington Ave.

Local boy — Oh, dang. He doesn’t owe you anything, does he? That boy is so bad at paying people back.

Charles — No, no. I need to talk to him about a girl. Sheila. They record together.

Local boy — Ahh, okay! You’re talking about Lil B Dowry, that old trap rapper from down past the alley.

  • That rapper who makes trap music.

Charles — You know him?

Local boy — Yeah, I know who he is. If he’s not at the trap right now, he’s probably at home. Want me to take you over?

  • If he’s not at work, at the place where he makes money.

He thought for a second. Then Charles gave the boy a nod, and they started walking down the street, around the corner, and past the alley.

To Trap

Explain

This is basically the verb version of the above. Just like how “trap” in regular usage can be a situation/device and an action, “trap” in slang can also be an action. More often than not, people refer to the action as trapping. Trapping is used a lot to talk about making illegal transactions, especially dealing with drugs. But you’re all saintly people, so you won’t need to use it like that 😉

Dialogue

As they got near to Lil B Dowry’s house or hang-out spot — or trap, as the local boy called it — Charles noticed a couple of strange-looking people with tired eyes and smelly clothes wandering around. They looked sick in the face, and they couldn’t stop shuffling around on the floor like they were searching for worms.

Local boy — Ha. You see them? They’re probably coming from Lil B’s place right now.

Charles — Yeah? Does Lil B … trap?

  • Does he sell drugs, make money illegally?

The local boy laughed and shook his head. He then turned to Charles.

Local boy — Well, that’s what people say. Let’s find out.

Explain

Now, trapping doesn’t have to be all bad. In the loosest sense, it’s used to talk about any kind of work that one makes their money from. Some people use it to talk about making money in general, even by legal means. That’s right; even on their legal paying jobs, sometimes people say trapping.

Dialogue

When they arrived at the house, Lil B Dowry was already on the front porch. He put out his cigarette and stood up, ready to encounter two strangers. But he realized they weren’t so strange after all.

Lil B Dowry — Hey, bro! What’s happening with you?

Local boy — You know this guy? He was wandering around the block, lost, looking for you.

Lil B Dowry — Heck yeah, I know this fool. I’ve seen him around at the studio. You know, the one on Wilmington. Come on up, don’t be scared!

The sun was getting low in the sky. The sick people were still shuffling around in the streets.

Local boy — So, I see you’ve been hustling out here. Making hit songs and making deals on these fiends.

Lil B Dowry — Nah, that’s not on me. You know I don’t trap like that.

  • You know I don’t sell drugs, make money illegally like that.

Local boy — You mean, you don’t sell …

Lil B Dowry — All of my trapping is legal, kid. I make my music, and that’s it. Don’t get misconstrued. If anybody is dealing drugs, it’s Charles over there. Probably got ties with the Colombian Cartels, the Haitians. He might even be in the Japanese mafia, for all we know.

  • All of my ways of making money are legal.

They broke out laughing, and Charles realized that the rapper was joking with him. Thank God!

Explain

Just a quick note. Trap can also be a person that is lying or deceitful. It’s especially used towards women or trans people who lie about their identity, but that’s another story. You can read more about that meaning if you want to here.

Dialogue

Charles — Yeah, you all better run from me. I’ll get the mob after you. But for real, I came to ask you about …

Lil B Dowry — Sheila? I know, I remember you liked her. You come to find out if she’s a trap or not. Listen, Sheila’s cool, okay? You don’t have to worry about her. And you can ask her for yourself, she doesn’t hide anything.

  • Find out if she’s a liar, if she’s deceitful, if she’s a fake.

A sigh of relief swept over Charles. Nerves came back when he realized how dark it was.

Local boy — That’s cool you rap at a studio though. You should get me a spot in the booth.

Lil B Dowry — For sure! If you want, I’ll take you down there right now. Sheila’s probably getting done making a song right now, Charlie. I’ll take y’all if you want.

Charles — That’s alright! Where’s your car parked?

Closing

Alright, my learners! I hope this made some sense to you. These aren’t all the possible meanings of “trap,” but this is mostly what you’ll want to know. Since it’s a term that originates from illegal activities, it could be a tricky word to know how to use. If you’re an English learner, I suggest not using it unless you’re around people who use it commonly. If you’re around younger people, you could surprise them with your use of “trap” in the healthy, legal sense.

Whatever you decide, at least you now understand these slang expressions. Use them in your own sentences. Think of songs where you’ve heard these expressions. And whatever you do …! Don’t give up learning. Peace out! And take care.

Pretty fancy red pepper – “hot” “bougee/boujee” meanings & uses

Welcome back to another Adventures of Charles! We’re going to look at just two words today, but these two pack a lot into them. Both of these are considered slang or informal words, and I’ll explain more about how they are used with some example dialogues. So, let’s read on.

Red hot peppers, Photo by Laker on Pexels.com

HOT

So you know the first and most obvious meaning of this word. When the temperature is high, you get “hot,” or when food comes out of the oven, it’s “hot.” Similarly, there’s another meaning that has to do with food. A lot of the time we use hot to mean spicy, like a chili pepper. It’s used so frequently that often when someone says their food is hot, another person will ask if it is “hot hot” (temperature hot) or “spicy hot.”

.

It was a bright and sunny day, great for an ice-cold drink. Charles was finally “going out” to eat with his friend Sheila after several unofficial dates.

Charles — Goodness, it’s hot out. Is there a specific place you want to eat?

  • The weather is hot, high temperature.

Sheila — I know right? Let’s see … What about that Indian place. They have some good cold drinks there.

Charles — You like Indian food? I don’t know, I haven’t tried it before.

Sheila — Come on, it’s tasty! Super flavorful. The food can be a little hot though.

  • It can be a little spicy, have lots of spices.

Charles — Hot? You mean spicy?

She opened her eyes wide and gave Charles a big nod.

Sheila — Yeah!

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A “hot” day at the beach 😉 Photo by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

Besides the meanings above, “hot” can mean a few other things. When referring to a person as hot, it usually means they are very attractive. It’s basically a synonym for “sexy.” When referring to an item or object, however, it usually has one of two meanings. Calling something hot might mean that it is really fresh, brand new, and so it is really good. Think of how a cake, loaf of bread, or pizza are best when fresh and hot out the oven (at least in my opinion). Another meaning for hot when referring to an object is that it is stolen. That’s right, stolen goods can be resold for a bigger profit, and those goods are known as “hot.”

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The two friends entered the Indian restaurant and sat down to order their food.

Sheila — So, what should we order?

Charles — I don’t know, you’re the Indian expert. Which one is less hot?

  • Less spicy.

Sheila — These options in green are less spicy. One thing I like about these restaurants is they always have Indian T.V. shows and Bollywood movies playing. Look.

He looked up at the screen and saw a small group of women dressed in loose colorful dresses and garments. Their heads and necks were covered in gold accessories, and they were shaking every inch of their bodies.

Charles — Yeah, I see what you mean. They’re kind of hot.

  • They are kind of sexy, attractive.

Sheila made a snort laugh at this comment and shook her head.

Sheila — Bold man. Hey, what’s that guy doing?

A strange vendor entered the restaurant with a bag full of random items.

Vendor — I’ve got items for sell, I got it all. Everything’s hot off the store shelves. Hey, nice young couple. Y’all want to buy a DVD, bottle of wine? Let me see …

  • Everything is new, in good quality, fresh.

Suddenly the restaurant owner comes out from the kitchen.

Owner — Yeah, I bet all of that stuff is hot! Go away, sir. This is the last time I tell you!

  • I bet all of that stuff is stolen, you’re selling it illegally.

The vendor left without saying a word, probably next door to try to sell his stuff.

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Bougie – Boujee

The last word we’ll look at is this. Both of these are the same word, and in fact, they are pronounced the same way too. Spelling depends on the individual, and there are probably more ways to spell it. This word comes from the French term, bourgeoisie, which was used especially in the 1700s to refer to the French upper-middle class. The term became more derogatory because it referenced the materialistic values and stuck-up ways of the upper class. It got into English and apparently, “boujee” is an easier way to say it. Nowadays, it’s used almost in the same way, to refer to people who are stuck up, who put lots of value on material things, or those upper-middle-class people. Boujee is also used the same way as fancy or for someone who has expensive taste. Think of the song “Bad and Boujee” by Migos.

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The food was finally ready and arrived at their table, sizzling hot.

Sheila — Oh, and here. I ordered you a lassi. It’s like a mixed yogurt and fruit drink. Maybe it’ll cool you off.

Charles — Thanks!

Sheila — Hey, slow down! You’re not gonna have any drink to wash down all this spicy food.

The waiter stayed and asked if they needed anything else.

Sheila — No thanks.

Then she said a few things to the waiter in a language Charles had no chance of understanding. The waiter smiled at her and walked away happily.

Charles — I didn’t know you spoke another language.

Sheila — Yeah, you’re not the only foreigner here, haha. Well, I was born here, but my parents weren’t. All my friends think I’m boujee for eating here because it’s kinda expensive. I’m just trying to keep connected with my roots. And the food is amazing.

  • My friends think I am trying to be fancy, have expensive taste.

Charles nodded in agreement and took a bite. He immediately started sweating.

Charles — Oh my God, this is so hot!

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Like most of the words I cover in this series, boujee and hot may or may not be considered offensive when you’re describing a person. It really all depends on the tone of voice, the way that you say these words, and the perception of the person you’re talking about. For example, men usually don’t take offense to being called “hot,” but for women it could go both ways; some women might take offense while others could be flattered. It’s similar with boujee, because some people are proud to have expensive tastes. Others might be offended by being called stuck-up or trying to look rich. Regardless of if you use these words or not, you will definitely hear them in common speech and especially in popular music. And calling food “hot” is never offensive!

Practice Questions:

  1. Can you use hot and boujee in your own sentences? What situations are best for these words?
  2. Why might someone take offense to being called hot or boujee? Why might someone be flattered?
  3. Have you heard these words in your English studies or listening to English? When was that?
  4. Have you tried Indian food before? What did you think?

Where I go? (audio version)

Photo by Bryan Catota

Languages learners, English enthusiasts … we have another one. Listen here to the audio version of “Where I go?” from the Adventures of Charles. You can listen to the audio by itself on this page or listen and read along with the original post here. Test your listening skills by answering some follow-up questions or writing a comment after. Follow the blog if you want to be notified directly of new content. Thanks and enjoy!

my bad_there you go_there it is_there you have it

Thanks to my student Bianca V. for helping me with this audio!

Some practice questions:

  1. In what situations might it be better to use “my bad”? What about “sorry”?
  2. Have you ever said or heard these phrases when receiving an object or giving something away?
  3. How do you usually react when someone bumps into you in the street or on public transportation? Would you be as respectful as Charles was?