Owing to a number of factors [of which regular readers of this blog will be aware] I have had to use up precious hours of the life-hours I no longer have enough of-by waiting on the telephone. Gas installers, electricity providers, telephone companies, ex-electricity providers, tax inspectors, on line ‘help’ communities-these are some of the faceless establishments whose musical miscellanies it has been my misfortune to have to endure.
I am now a connoisseur regarding ‘waiting-on-the-telephone’ musical selections. Soon-to-be ex Electricity providers ‘Scottish and Southern’s’ offering is not to my taste, consisting of about six tracks which rotate in a monotonous loop of rapping, heavy metal and Bryan Adams. Eon, who are about to be the new provider at least have a non-abrasive classical offering.
To achieve the point at which you must listen to this dross you will have undergone a process involving selecting options. The options begin with the ‘main menu’. There may be five, six or more options on the main menu. By the time option number five is described I have forgotten options one, two, three and four. Since ‘what was that again?’ is not one of the options I try a random number which may or may not be ‘to speak to a human being’. Once I have selected the human being number I am on hold once more with Bryan Adams et al.
By now the carpal tunnel symptoms in my wrist has begun to show displeasure at being held in such a position by playing dead. My brain reels in sympathy and since I am sitting at the PC I begin a single handed round of Freecell Solitaire which sucks me in so that when, half an hour or so later a proper human voice asks me how they can help I have totally forgotten who I called, what I called about, or even that I called at all. It is tempting, at this point to ask the voice why my solitaire game has been rudely interrupted.
This is the point where the human explains you have got through to the wrong department, that they cannot help you, that you need to ring such-and-such a number; or if they are kindly they may even put you through to the department you may [or may not] need. Once you have gone through the musical diversion, the options menu and the lottery of a selection process again you have the joy of explaining the problem, going through your details, telling the voice your date of birth, postcode, name of your first dog and bra size all over again.
After several days I begin to feel that the loss of life hours is irrelevant, owing to a gradual seepage of desire to exist. They have worn me down. I fully understand the meaning of ‘soul-destroying’. This is how organisations, corporations and companies keep us, the masses under their control. ‘Your call may be monitored for training purposes’ intones the robotic responder and I wonder how much training is involved in making everyone’s life a drudgery. They keep me ha-aaanging on the te-e-lepho-one…