Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Il pleut à boire debout

Il pleut à boire debout (eel pluh ah bwar duh-boo) : it's pouring rain; it's raining cats and dogs

The literal translation is it's raining so as to be able to drink standing up. This has always been one of my favourite idioms because of the mental image it evokes. I've always imagined it raining so much that the puddles flood up to one's mouth. But in reality the idea is that it is raining so hard as to be able to drink by turning your head towards the sky.

As I work on the Quebec side of the National Capital Region, I have today off for la Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Mais il pleut à boire debout. While the seemingly endless months of grey rainy weather in Vancouver seem oppressive, I've discovered I quite enjoy the occasional Vancouver-style downpour in Ottawa. This is something I first realized about myself the morning after I got back from Toronto last spring and it was raining. It hadn't rained at all while I was in Toronto, so it seemed too dry.

Last week I did an Indigenous walking tour of Ottawa in the pouring rain. I hadn't anticipated the rain so I was caught without an umbrella. Despite the rain, I really enjoyed it. As I have been saying: I'm from Vancouver, if we waited for the rain to let up, we'd never do anything.

(photo of Paris in the rain by Rebecca Plotnick available as a print via Etsy)

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