Friday, April 11, 2008

Stupid American...

Why is it that when I let a French person know I don't speak the language well they think that if they just use more words and explain in three different ways that I will understand? In the US people do three things; 1) talk slower, 2) try to use simple words (and as few as possible) and 3) talk louder. You know what?! These things actually help! I could be wrong, but it seems that many (I can not say all) French people expect you to just suddenly understand them. Case in point: this morning I received a phone call from Auchan about our broken dryer. After two phone calls (I think he hung up on me then called me back) with this man talking very rapidly I begged him to call Cyr. I thought he wanted a part number, I guess not, will he come today? Do you need a time? Is he here now? Do we need a new dryer?

Turns out he needed the serial number of the dryer. Ok buddy...I asked if "vous besoin un numero?". Yes, it's bad French. It's like saying "You need number?" or close to that. Did he respond? Non. Did I get a clue I was on the right track? Non. Instead I asked him to call Cyr and then Cyr called me, got the number then called Auchan back. I was so irritated I was in tears. I's nothing to cry about but I'm not used to feeling so frickin incompetent. I used to run a business, I sold millions of dollars worth of software integration services, but I can't get a damn dryer fixed in France. I'm just venting. I love France but I hate that I don't speak French. I know the French hate that too. I'm ok now...I feel much better after venting. I'm also planning to take classes in June so at least I will feel like I am trying to do something about this situation.

1 comment:

J said...

Hey girl,
Worry not, and trust me, they're being nicer to you because you're trying. There will always be some degree of contempt from some toward you for the simple reason that you're an American, and it won't matter if you speak the language flawlessly. Put on a smile and go do a little shopping!