Garlic Moments: Phones and Numbers

Posted on March 3rd, 2010 by Valerie

We all know what a Garlic Moment is.  Send us yours and we’ll post the best: they should not only be amusing but also helpful and instructive.  To kick off, here’s Georgina Tremayne from Barcelona with – what else? – a telephone problem.

Fatal Construction

Moving from one apartment to another apartment in the same town isn’t that difficult unless, of course, your mastery of the local language is a -1 on the fluency scale. That’s where www.spanishdict.com comes in handy. But take care. The moment you start feeling cocky is the moment it all goes to hell.

Having cunningly, (I thought), negotiated a new apartment contract with no intention of moving in for four weeks, it allowed enough time to get the internet and GARLICphone line working to coincide with our arrival. That was cock-up #1. And that was a long time ago.

Cock-up #2 was going to The Phone House, a ‘middle man’ (think Arthur Dailey) who pushes all sorts of phone and internet deals and lures you inside with promise of English speakers – otherwise you’d name yourself Casa de teléfono, wouldn’t you?

Cock-up #3 was choosing Vodafone, a UK company traded on the London stock exchange. Beware because I wasn’t aware. You can only get near the English speaking help desk if you’re a Taurus, your Chinese sign is a Rooster and you’re fluent in Spanish.

Cock-ups #4, #5 and #6 were getting two dead SIM cards from The Phone House and believing there was a phone line already installed in the apartment. The apartment had been renovated after being vacant for decades and there was no phone line, which led to a visit from Teléfonica, which led to complaints from the neighbors, which led to … oh, forget it.

Cock-ups #7-#10 involved eight trips to The Phone House as the original contract was lost over Christmas and, allegedly, was wrong anyway, more dead SIM cards and I’m pretty sure they invited me back once simply because they missed me.

Cock-up #11 was me. The third new phone number, because the first two were already in use after all, was a handwritten number. I could have sworn the digit for ‘one’ was a seven. It was a European ‘one,’ something that’s only clear to the trained eye. Yes, I thought it was hilarious too. Cock-up #12 was that the line hadn’t been activated.

Everyone remembers cock-up #11, not the three months it took me to get the problem resolved through sheer bloody effort and determination. I want an Oscar.

I suppose it’s like giving birth. Now the pain is over, the result was worth it.

Yep, I’ve been garlicked.

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2 Responses to “Garlic Moments: Phones and Numbers”

  1. RosieReay Says:

    Oh gosh how I oohed and aahed and then laughed as one can relate these “cock-up’s” to so many similar daily Expat moments of “I have mastered the language-not!”
    I loved the final comment about giving birth and wish to add “Do you ever forget the pain of an arduous and lengthy labour? God Bless him he is nearly 27 year old!”

    Thank you for this blog Valerie it enlightened my day!

  2. RosieReay Says:

    Valerie just Twittered for you:

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