Almanac Life: Hangin’ on the telephone




I’ll start with a question: when was the last time that life provided you with one of those special moments that made you stop and smile because many (all?) of your preconceived ideas about a certain topic had to be recalibrated?


I had one such experience a couple of weeks ago in London. Perhaps it wasn’t earth shattering or even important in the wider scale of things but I suggest that, based on my response at the time, it has potential implications for millions of people worldwide on a daily basis. So maybe it does rank somewhere between very important and revolutionary. You be the judge.


Here’s what happened.


I had cause to phone a doctor’s office as a follow-up to a consultation several days previously. Instead of being answered by a person, my call was diverted to ‘on hold’ and the accompaniment of a musical track.


Diversion: What’s your worst horror story when it comes to being ‘on hold’ for ages, at the same time being subjected to a soundtrack from hell? Synthesised music created by a computer, nauseous, repetitious, interrupted every now and then with inanities like ‘your call is important to us…’, all of it endlessly on loop. If you’re ‘lucky’ you get cut off to spare you the agony of the soundtrack but at the cost of frustration for not being able to conduct the necessary business.


Our experience was with an unnamed airline where we first dialled at 2.00pm, went on hold for 90 minutes and then got cut off. Redialled, another 90 minutes and then cut off again. Redialled…And all the time we were subjected to the endless repetition of gormless artificial muzak. Finally at 10.55pm, just as we were about to call it quits and go to bed, a human answered! And the business we needed to transact was completed in less than 5 minutes. Aarrgghh!


(I won’t go into the alternative result of being connected, eventually, to an offshore call centre with all of its associated challenges. That’s a story for another day.)


But back to my recent experience.


When I was put ‘on hold’ at the doctor’s office I was not transferred to your standard egregious soundtrack. Instead, emanating from the phone’s speaker came the dulcet tones of the jazz classic, Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’.





Aaahhh, peaceful…relaxing…soothing…unhurried…uncluttered…take your time answering because this is so good.


I relaxed completely, immediately; I smiled both inwardly and outwardly; what has been all too often an unhelpful, soulless, mood dampening, often negative experience was transformed into something calming, uplifting and patience inducing; wait? what wait?; let’s deal with whatever we have to when you’re good and ready, I’m happy to listen for now.


I haven’t been able to get that piece out of my head since!


Businesses of the world, whatever you are, wherever you are, pay attention to my tale and do something about it. It will enhance your corporate image and reputation, and I can assure you that your frontline workers will thank you because they won’t have so many irate callers to deal with. I call that win-win-win.


Perhaps cool jazz can save the world from a lot of hot air.


I’m happy to hear about similar experiences you may have had, both the good and the memorable for all the wrong reasons.


To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.



About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.


  1. george smith says

    I always seek cool jazz when i am driving in Sydney traffic. One or more of the public radio stations has jazz at odd hours to help you calmly drive to work.

    Then there is Koori Radio Live and Deadly. It is an adventure to follow in the steps of their ancestors when stuck in a traffic jam!

  2. roger lowrey says

    Hmm, sorry IJH. I have only ever encountered the other ones you refer to. Perhaps I can live in hope.

    BTW, nice to have you back in our midst, in a rather loose way of talking.


Leave a Comment