Friday, November 18, 2005

The Belgacom Experience

I've been having trouble with deciphering our internet bill, so I called Belgacom (local phone company). After being on hold 47 minutes, I was disconnected. I called back. On hold for another 35 minutes, then disconnected. At this point, my faith in the phone service was a little shaken to say the least. So, I decided I might have better luck just going down to the local Belgacom office and taking care of it in person.

I found the office with no problem, which may not seem like a big thing to some, but in a country where every street sign is in 2 languages, neither of which you speak, and the names of the streets change every 100 yards, this was quite an accomplishment for me.

Once I got to the Belgacom store, there was a long line, so I took my place behind the last person. After waiting about 20 minutes (apparently, lots of problems with Belgacom), the lady asked who's next?. I said "me" and walked towards her. Here is where it goes south.

This man (who had been walking around the store talking on his cell phone and not waiting patiently in line like the rest of us), walked forward as well. I ignored him and kept walking toward the lady. The man then started cursing at me in French. I'm fairly certain he was cursing, not just because of the tone and volume of his voice, the facial expressions, and the wild hand gesturing, but, thanks to a friend of mine's sister-in-law (the one married to the French guy), I know that "picchon" is French for the F-bomb. While his speech was rapid-fire, I'm fairly confident that I heard "picchon" in several of its derivative forms!

Once the guy realized that I had no idea what he was saying, he then switched to English. At this time, I was able to verify that he was, in fact, using "picchon" in his earlier tirade. I was surprised to find that his English, at least when it came to cursing, was quite good. Although I was tempted to compliment him on his creativity with English curse words, (extra points for "you are a shit-fuck"), I ignored him and kept walking. At this point, I can't be sure, but I think he threw in some Arabic for good measure.

Once I was at the counter (him still ranting in the unidentifiable third language), I turned, smiled, and delivered in what can be described (in hindsight, of course) as somewhat of a sing-song voice, one of the few French phrases I have learned to date: "Il fait froid." (For you non-French speakers, this translates to "I am cold.") At this point, the man left the store in what I would characterize as a "very agitated state."

© 2005 Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Anonymous Michael Speer said...

You need to get ahold of Shaefer as he can help you with your "French" for guys like that .. next time just say booh!

7:53 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

How do the Belgians pronouce Belgacom? Do they say




4:48 AM  

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