July 10, 2010 | Greek

I’ve Been Cut Off!

A giant boulder rolls in front of me as I jog along my language-learning path.

Last night I slept very badly. I woke up repeatedly. The lack of sleep did not bode well for my productivity.

Μπάλα (Ball)

Μπάλα (Ball)

I started out the day rolling tennis balls underfoot (to stretch the muscles) and icing my feet, then went to a Pilates class at my gym. The instructor seemed totally happy to be there, which was a pleasant change from some of the other gym classes I have taken in my life.

By the afternoon I was so tired, though, that after making some not particularly fruitful attempts to organize at the office, I returned to Pimsleur in an effort to sleep. If you have read this blog in the past (and I thank you if you have), you may recall that Pimsleur often helps me settle into a nap, not because it is boring, but because I find it relaxing.

So, I got into bed and started doing lessons. Unfortunately, no dozing-off effect this time. More like a NoDoz effect, in fact.

When Brandt got back from a meeting, I was still in bed, still wide awake, still doing Pimsleur. I was doing surprisingly well, too, considering my exhaustion. But the point was, I needed to go to sleep. I started to feel physically and psychologically desperate.

The experience brought to mind that Hans Christian Andersen tale of the girl who coveted a pair of beautiful red shoes. As punishment for her vanity, and I guess blasphemy (she wore them to church), they stuck to her feet and made her keep dancing, dancing, dancing, until she had to choose between dying of exhaustion or having her feet cut off.

She chose to have her feet cut off (though she doesn’t live much longer anyway, which I always thought sucked, because having your feet cut off is already awful enough). I felt as though Pimsleur was turning into my red shoes.

Fortunately, things didn’t come to such a dire end for me. Instead, I finally dozed off. What a relief.

When I woke up, I went right back to Pimsleur. I finished lesson 12 (Level II) and then did 13.

Then, at 11:20 p.m., something shocking happened.

In Happier Times: The Day I Met Rosetta Stone Last Spring

In Happier Times: The Day I Met Rosetta Stone Last Spring

I tried to log in to Rosetta Stone. I failed. I got a message telling me my account had expired or been deactivated or something in that vein. It was a devastating moment, especially late on a Friday night, when no one was likely to be around to help. I stared desperately, futilely, at the screen and the red type denying me access.

With very little hope, I then contacted customer service through the only  method available at that hour: chat. Not my favorite. The agent typed that she (I think it was a she) wasn’t trained to help me with that problem and that I needed to contact customer service for TOTALe, the web-based Rosetta Stone product I am using.  She gave me the phone number. I thanked her. She didn’t bother to tell me what I already knew, namely, that TOTALe customer service was closed until Sunday.

I then tried resetting my password. That didn’t work either.

I have been cut off from Rosetta Stone, and I don’t know why. I now find myself standing in a bleak gray language wasteland, winds howling, leafless trees bent sideways, serpents hissing ominously, buzzards hovering, etc.

You get the picture.

Comments (4)

Julie • Posted on Sun, July 11, 2010 - 6:19 pm EST


I want more wasteland imagery.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sun, July 11, 2010 - 8:02 pm EST

Sorry about that. One of the buzzards started dive-bombing me, and I got distracted. I had to hurl several foreign-language dictionaries at it before it would leave me alone. (It actually ate the Spanish one.)

Julie • Posted on Mon, July 12, 2010 - 7:16 am EST

While I’m complaining, I was also disappointed that you squandered a perfectly good opportunity to use the word “denuded.” But I understand that this was a very traumatic weekend.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, July 12, 2010 - 3:50 pm EST

I am sorry to have disappointed you. I will keep my eyes open for possible future applications.

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