My cellphone line was cut because of corporate ineptitude, and it actually helped me.
OK, so I can’t make calls or send texts, which is a detriment. But when I finally can use my phone again, I’ll have a much better grasp of French.
Ever since I arrived in Guéret, I have had cellphone service with Orange, a large French telecommunications company that provides phone and internet service, much like AT&T in the United States. Also similar to AT&T, you couldn’t get someone to help you at Orange if you transformed into a 10-foot monster breathing down their neck. I’ve visited the Orange store in town about a dozen times since I’ve begun service with the company just five weeks ago.
But all the the numerous problems I’ve had with Orange have helped me improve my French skills. The first time I went to the Orange store to begin phone service — two days after I arrived in France — my French was halting and I had immense trouble understanding the staff. The latest time I visited Orange last week, I didn’t need to ask the staff to repeat themselves, and I could competently argue in French. My visits to Orange have not only become a barometer for my progressing French; the company has also forced me to argue in French, which improves my capacity to think more quickly.
Thank you, Orange, for your real-life French lessons. Plus, now I know the French words for “landline,” “reimbursement,” and “you cut my phone line.” Alas, I must leave you for another phone company, but I’m sure you will impart more linguistic wisdom when I call the customer service line for a reimbursement.