Please hold

I’m kind of pressed for time here. We’ll probably have to cancel our lunch date. How about meeting up for a cup of coffee? But the lines. I don’t know. How about we just meet up at the coffee place? We’ll shake hands, I’ll say hello, you’ll say, “It’s been great seeing you,” and that’ll probably be it. I’m swamped. Barely treading water here. Great. Bye.

Cancel my two o’clock. Push my one thirty to two o’clock. Then cancel that two o’clock also. Actually, scratch that. Everything. Scratch everything. Let’s start over. Hold all my calls. Answer them, but put them on hold. Let everybody wait it out for a couple of minutes, then get back on the line, say, “I’m sorry, but Mr. G____ is extremely busy right now. In fact, if you could get off this line now, we’d be really appreciative, he’d be really appreciative, the phone company would be oh so grateful, all of these calls, hogging network bandwidth. Did you hang up yet? Just hang up, you don’t have to wait for me to finish my sentence. It’s nothing important.”

Jesus, I’m way in over my head. I need a break. Just a quick twenty-five second break. How do you set the alarm on this phone? No, never mind, I can figure it out myself. Is this the correct time? Well how does the phone know to automatically correct itself for Daylight Savings Time? Christ, I’ve gone and wasted my whole break. Well at least I won’t have to figure out how to rig a five second snooze button.

All right, back to work. Where are those forms that I needed to sign? How good is your signature? That’s actually a pretty nice signature. Change of plans, you sign all of the forms, I’ll take over on phone duty for a while.

Hello? Yes. No, I’m afraid he’s entirely too busy right now. Yes I have been told that I sound almost exactly like him. No, it’s just a coincidence. I’m sorry, but he’s still very busy. No, I’m sure what you have to say is very important. But there are a lot of people waiting … please hold.

How are those forms coming along? What? No, not with your name, with my name. This is ridiculous. I was commenting on your penmanship, not on your name. All right, let’s do another switch. I’ll finish the papers, you man the phones. Oh, but listen, line three is pretty convinced that my assistant sounds exactly like me and talks in the same exact way. Do you think you can pull that off? Terrific.

No, I’m way too busy. Did you see my pen? No, I don’t like those pens that you use. What are those, the gel pens? No, there are always too many clumps of ink that escape the tip periodically, and then it smears. It’s a big mess. No, not as big as you putting your name all over my forms. Hold on, that’s my cell.

Hello? No, I’m really not interested in taking a survey right now. Well, it’s not that I’m not interested, it’s just that I really don’t have any time here. Well, yes, well … listen, hold on one second.

OK, new plan, I’ll take over the phones again – is line three still there? – you take my cell phone. How’s your me impression coming along? I want you to take this survey. I don’t know, something municipal, something about civics. You know how I’d answer, right? Great, at the same time, I want you to keep signing these forms. But remember, my name, your handwriting. What a great combination that’s going to be. I can almost see it right now.

Hello? You’re still there? No, I’m afraid he’s even busier than he was before. If I had to guess I’d say six hours. Seven hours. Six. I’ll say six hours. You’ll wait? No that’s crazy. Just call back. I’ll have him call you back.

Hello? Yes this is Mr. … I mean, no this isn’t Mr. … I mean, shit, I answered the phone the wrong way. Enough with the survey. Get on line four and tell them I’m out to lunch, that you answered the phone in my voice and accidentally said that this is and then that this isn’t. Great? Great. I’ll be in my office. Hold all calls for the next forty-five seconds. I’ve just got to clear my head here. No, starting now.