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Life in the Queue (Things to do while you're on hold)

"You are currently number 25 in the queue."

UUUUUUUGGGHHH. Last Friday, I was trying to contact the VA in Fayetteville. It wasn't going to be a long call. Nothing major, and certainly nothing worth being caller number 25. I just laughed and hung up. Fast forward a few days, and I try again, but it can't wait any longer, so...."You are currently number 18 in the queue." Okay, VA, you win. I'll wait. I sat there with the phone to my ear, wishing I had used my headset instead, and settled in for the long wait.

We've all been there. Held captive by advanced technology, trapped for what feels like an eternity for even the most trivial request. There are more important things we could be doing with our time, right?! If you're struggling to be productive while listening to that obnoxious, overused new-age Muzak, here are a few ideas:

"You are currently number 22 in the queue."

  1. Actually finish your coffee. If you're anything like me, that cup of coffee that you make when you first get to the office is usually still sitting next to your computer at 4:30 and has been reheated at least once. Might as well enjoy it while it's fresh and hot. You never know when this joyous event is going to come around again.

  2. If you're stuck on your office phone, use this time to scroll through Facebook on your cell and deep clean your friend list. Got that one "friend" you haven't actually met in person and who always has to ruin your mediocre attempts at humor with actual facts? Sacked. A 90-year-old neighbor who is always making posts that were obviously meant for just one specific person? "Sharon, I need you to call me asap." Shake 'em off. (Well, maybe just unfollow them but stay friends. You're not a total ass.)

"You are currently number 18 in the queue."

  1. Go through your emails. This is the perfect time to peruse all of the emails that came through from the time you left work yesterday to the moment you logged in this morning and decide which ones you are going to ignore.

  2. Organize your paper clips. Whether you keep your paper clips in the original box they came in, a bland plastic container, an old Krispy Kreme ash tray, or an overpriced porcelain bowl with the word "love" scrawled on the inside, it is never not a good time to organize your paper clips. Organize them by color, weed out the ones that are bent beyond repair, untangle those five paper clips you are constantly just moving out of the way. It's bound to keep you busy until you are at least number 9 in the queue.

"You are currently number 18 in the queue." Seriously?!

  1. This is when you try to see how far you can roll your eyes back in your head before they come loose and start moving independently. Unfortunately, I already have an eye that moves independently, so this activity is wasted on me.

  2. Take a power nap. I mean, honestly. You're still number 18, so why not?

"You are currently number 12 in the queue." "You are currently number 9 in the queue." "You are currently number 3 in the queue." Well, alright! We're finally getting somewhere!!

  1. Use this sudden burst of positive energy, no matter how short lived, to sort through some of the paperwork on your desk that has been there so long you forgot it was there. Trigger warning: this activity is likely going to end with more items on your To Do list, so be prepared.

  2. Try to make something presentable out of your hair. If you're like me, you went to bed with every intention of getting up in time to do your hair and makeup (even though you have to see a patient first thing and are going to sweat it all off), but by the time you press the snooze button for the fifth time you've likely decided that makeup is overrated. It is only when you took those five selfies somewhere between being number 12 and number 4 in the queue that you realized you look like a homeless person squatting in some executive's office.

"You are currently number 3 in the queue." OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE HERE!!!!

  1. At this point, you will need to resist the urge to take one of those misshapen paper clips that you just threw away and shove it through your eardrums. On the upside, you won't have to listen to any more of that mind-numbing hold music that is going to be stuck in your head the rest of the day. You know, glass half-full and all.

  2. Finally, you will want to re-review the paperwork you have in front of you to remind you why you made this #*^&! phone call in the first place.

"Thank you for calling the Fayetteville VA, xlisnettg slnweoi aeoaeji, may I have smlkn nlsjo snekl pnaeknl?"

"I'm sorry.....what?"

<sigh> "Thank you for calling the Fayetteville VA, my name is Jane Doe, may I have the veteran's name and last four of their social?"

I tell her who I am and who I need to speak to, and after an extensive search, I am transferred to the appropriate individual.......and promptly get their voicemail.

"This is Cindy Colucci. The veteran you referred does not need services at this time. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me." CLICK.

May I please get on with my life now?!

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