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Say It Right In French (Say farewell to language faux pas forever!)
un égout (ay-goo) noun, masculine

Le rêve est un tunnel qui passe sous la réalité. C'est un égout d'eau claire, mais c'est un égout. The dream is a tunnel that passes under reality. It is a sewer of clear water, but it is a sewer. --Pierre Reverdy

"Beurk!"* my daughter complains, as we brush our teeth at the bathroom sink which, on the upside, beats brushing at the tub...or "over the tub" for "over" we must lean (and down we must stoop) in order to spit/hit our drain target.

While brushing at the sink is a step up from brushing at the tub, "we're not there yet"* as the French would say. ("There" being a still-elusive state in which water runs in a more orderly and less odorous manner.)

"Ça sent!" my daughter continues. I have to agree with her: the sink smells. I do have my doubts about our drains. But so far there is no reason to believe that the pipes are faulty. And so, with renewed enthusiasm, I rinse out my mouth (determined not to doubt our water spout).

"Tiens!"* My son says, bounding into the bathroom.
"Cadeau pour toi!" Present for you!
"Who's it from?" I wonder.

I rip open the packaging, never minding the no-nonsense gift wrap (a plastic bag), and find a lime green bottle. Absent is the cut-glass stopper and poetic gold-trimmed label. The sticker reads "2 bouchons par semaine" (2 capfuls a week). Well, there you go: the secret behind a French woman's enduring scent: pour it on!

"Elimine les odeurs..."* the sticker promises; sounds a bit accusing if you ask me. I skip to the end of the label, to the last bit which translates to "disinfects." Why, I find that downright insulting!

On second glance my suspicions are confirmed when, dumb as a drain, I realize that this perfume is for someone else: our promiscuous pipes.

References: Beurk! = Yuck! we're not there yet = on n'est pas encore là; tiens! = here!; la souris (f) = mouse; élimine les odeurs = eliminates odors

       Dictionary of French Building Terms: essential for renovators/home-owners
:: Audio File ::
"Un égout. Le rêve est un tunnel qui passe sous la réalité. C'est un égout d'eau claire, mais c'est un égout."
Wave files: Download egout.wav
"FRENCH in 10 minutes a day" is a fun, dynamic and engaging way to begin your love affair with French.
Chansons Pour Noel: Songs for Christmas (in French)
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Terms & Expressions:
  système d'égouts = sewerage system
  les eaux d'égouts = sewage
  aller à l'égout = to go down the drain
  un égoutier (une égoutieuse) = sewer worker
  un égouttoir = a dish drainer
  égoutter (verb) = to drain

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
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