Being on hold has to be one of the few unifying human experiences.
Our first love, holding the tiny hands of our children, crying at the beauty of your first peanut butter and jam sandwich, and knowing what it’s like to suffer through being on hold to a government agency are all things we can share, that cross cultural barriers, genders, races and even time itself, proving that, at our core, we’re all human. And as human, in unity, we can all agree that being on hold, and being on hold with the DVLA contact line in particular, is terrible.
You can’t leave the phone, or do anything that will distract you or prevent you from hearing the phone – after all, the customer service team at the other end could pick it up any second. On the other hand, there is nothing happening besides the same repeated snatches of hold music, if you’re lucky, and constant repetitions of how important your call is, if you are not lucky. You’re forced to stay in a condition of enforced bored, at attention, with nothing to pay attention to.
So what can you do?
We’ll assume you’re on hold with the DVLA because you’re in need of some important information or you’re registering for something important. Usually, you’ll call because of something like:
- Arranging taxation of a vehicle.
- Applying for a provisional licence.
- Looking for assistance with getting a blue badge.
- Booking your practical or theory driving test.
- Arranging driving lessons.
- Seeking advice and information on driving if you are disabled.
- Register a new car of which you are the proud owner, like a momma hen with a shiny twin-turbo chick.
- For help with a medical issue which affects your ability to drive.
These things are all important, and most of them require either some important details to hand, like a driving licence number and details, or a notebook so you can record all the information you receive, or both. In addition, the fact that they’re important and require attention to be paid to a phone means you’re unlikely to be able to video game, play contact sports, call a loved one or do a disgraceful amount of daytime drinking to kill time on hold. You can, however, use that bit of paper and the pen to your advantage.
Doodle your heart out
While listening to the soothing tones of the DVLA’s hold music, you can use the margins of your paper to unleash your most primal creative side. Draw curling vines. Draw stickman duels to the death. Draw that weird “S” thing we all used to draw at school that no-one really knew the origin of.
The important thing is just to draw whatever will entertain you enough to keep you sane, while keeping an ear out for a human voice on the other end of the phone.
Attempt unambitious yoga poses
It’s really surprising how much you can move with a phone held to your ear, even more so if that phone is cordless. If you’ve got a rudimentary knowledge of yoga, you can turn the boring experience of being on hold to the DVLA into a relaxing workout that will increase your flexibility, tone your muscles, boost your cardiovascular health and help you find inner peace. That way, when the person on the other end finally picks up the phone, they will be greeted with an enlightened, spiritual master who is ready to discuss registering a new car or arranging a driving test with calm, Zen confidence. Perfect. Just don’t do any poses that need two hands, so you can keep that phone in your ear.
Write a blog post about being on hold, telling others how to amuse themselves while on hold
If you’ve exhausted the other two options and you’re still on hold, you can turn to option number three: the big hitter. Writing a blog post on ways to entertain yourself while on hold. Doing this can help make you feel as though you’re doing an altruistic good deed, helping people you’ve never met, and will certainly keep you engaged, although you will have to type awkwardly with one hand like a magpie awkwardly pecking at the keyboard, or grab your phone between your ear and shoulder and consequently type away like a blogging Quasimodo.
However, the results are outstanding. Looking at your finished blog post, ready to hit “publish”, the fact that you’ve been on the phone for half an hour listening to nothing in particular doesn’t seem to matter any more. And in the midst of trying to sort out your car tax, that’s a rare and brilliant feeling.