Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Information, Please

One day last summer I was in the car with my friend Marie Noelle, returning from a morning spree at IKEA. We were stuck in midday peripherique traffic and I needed to phone to cancel a 1:30 appointment, but I didn't have the number. "How do I dial Information?" I asked. She wasn't sure; it had changed. Something about there being one number to call from a portable, one from a ligne fixe.

(I can't believe I'm in a country where there isn't a simple 411, I was thinking.)

So she called home to ask her 20-year-old son how to call les renseignements. He had no clue.

Next, while deftly shifting gears and flicking cigarette ashes out the window, she called her sister in Aix-en-Provence. Still no clue.

Whoa. We were phoning the other side of France to find out how to dial Information. From the highway. And came up with No Answer. How's that for technological irony?

It was "stump the chumps" time. We didn't get the number that day. I never did cancel the appointment. Instead, I had to call from home the next day and lie, lie, lie.

I now have 118 008 programmed into speed-dial.

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