Holding On

Closeup of silver iPhone 5s on the table by Dalibur Masil. Image from https://www.fotopiq.com/closeup-of-silver-iphone-5s-on-the-table/

Please continue to hold, your call is important to us….
Comes scratchily through the speaker of a phone two tables away
As their displeasure at continuing to wait is shared with us all
Patrons who have come only to eat and enjoy and escape
To be waited on for a few minutes after all the times of holding on
All the times when our wants and needs and calls were not important
And here into this brief retreat and in dissonance to the soft music
The distorted voice shatters the magic of a simple meal alone
As I am thrust from my reflection by this ongoing interruption

All our representatives are currently busy, we will attend to your call as soon as possible
The voice is loud enough that initially I wondered if it was my own phone
But soon I discover the source and I am amazed at the rudeness
The rudeness of broadcasting the rudeness we all endure on a daily basis
A reminder of the lines both physical and audible that we patiently endure
The times where we are not important enough nor valuable enough
To merit the time of another person’s time, to be heard or seen
And a part of me wants to shout, “turn it off, make it go away! Let me eat in peace!”
Am I just one more person who wants to tell the waiting one they shouldn’t be heard?

We are sorry, due to high volume there is no one available to take your call, please continue to hold
How long must we hold on? A minute? An hour? A day? A lifetime?
Before someone hears our voice and can answer the need that forces us to wait
As I reflect on the daily dismissals of our humanity that we encounter
How the digitized world continues to create longer lines and greater mazes
That we must navigate like mice searching for the bit of cheese that lies at the end
How we have become tethered and available all the time for people to reach us
Yet, we hold onto that tether hoping to hear confirmation that someone is available to us
And what we receive is elevator music and an automated voice telling us to hold on

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