Six months before September 8th, I called the insurance and talked to a different salesperson. I said I wanted to buy the insurance plan. The salesperson proceeded to ask the routine questions you are asked when you buy something with a credit card. I answered, but they couldn’t understand me. They repeated the questions, and I repeated the answers; they failed to understand me. I spelled my data; they still failed. Then they suddenly said, “I can’t understand you. Give me your email address and I’ll send you a link so that you can buy it online.” Apparently, this time they were perfectly able to understand me. A few seconds later there was an email from the insurance with a link.
I clicked on it and saw a form to fill with a star that indicated the required information. It was a whole lot of information. What is more, a warning appeared everywhere in the document about the possibility of losing the password. What password? I wondered. I was about to submit my information, when I decided not to purchase the insurance online; better to call the company again. The next day I called and I was transferred to a salesperson who, miracle of miracles, understood everything I said. I bought the insurance on the phone and gave a sigh of relief.
An Italian friend of mine has the same problem when she talks on the phone: no sooner does she start talking than they hear her accent, classify her as a foreigner, and stop understanding her. To have a useful exchange, participants in a conversation have to understand each other. To understand the speaker, the listener has to be willing to listen. No matter how many speech exercises I’ve done, I still mispronounce words. Despite that I’ve lived in the US for a long time, despite that before my injury my slight accent went unnoticed, when I talk on the phone, I sound as a foreigner. We foreigners are unintelligible.