Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is This the Party to Whom I am Speaking?

I learned a new phrase in class this week: "ce n'est pas logique." (It doesn't make sense.) Had I only known! It should be the tag line for Orange, otherwise known as France Telecom.

Let me back up a bit. Perhaps a week after we moved into our permanent apartment just after Labor Day, we arranged with Orange to subscribe to their triple play package: Internet service, cable TV, and phone service at one reasonable monthly price (particularly reasonable because the phone service includes unlimited calls to most of western Europe, the U.S., and Canada). Little did we know that the fun was just starting.

We got a nice welcome letter from Orange telling us to plug a phone into the wall and test it everyday until it worked. Three weeks went by; everyday I picked up the phone and dialed. All we could get was a little lady telling us (by recording) that we didn't have permission to use the line.

So then, it turns out that there's really no point in plugging the phone into the wall, it's actually supposed to be plugged into the router (which gets plugged into the wall). We set up the router but again had to wait. Finally on the magic day, the Internet service kicked in and the phone worked fine.

Well, the only hitch is that the phone only rings for 20 seconds before it flips over to a recorded message. I tried to change the length of the interval but 20 seconds is the longest option. The logical thing to do would be to turn off the automated message and just use an answering machine. But you actually have to call Orange to do this (and pay 34 centimes a minute for the privilege) plus, I'm told, you risk interrupting your Internet service for an indeterminate amount of time by doing so. Ce n'est pas logique! So if you happen to call, one of us will generally fly across the apartment (and it's a big apartment) to try to catch the call within the 20 second window. Oh yeah, and the only other problem I have is that my cell phone changes its ringtone everytime I charge it. But then I guess I should blame Motorola rather than Orange for that one.

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