“Please continue to hold. Your call is important to us.”
Hold on? Hold on? I’ve been holding on the entire time! I’ve been clutching this phone for about three hours now. Is that what people mean by “hold on”? I should “hold on” to my phone.
I’m writing this entry while being placed into the state of “hold on”. I have my little cell phone precariously perched upon my shoulder. Technically, I am not “holding on” to anything. The phone is being pinched by ear and neck muscles. Who are they to tell me what I should be doing while waiting for the operator to come back on the line? I’ll do whatever I want while I listen to the static filled bad jazz music. I’m not actually holding on to anything. I won’t do it. In fact, I will not “hold on”, I will use my hands to type! So there!
“Please continue to type. Your call is sort of important to us.”
Since I was forced into the action of “hold”, I had some time to ponder the phrase “hold on”. When I say that I had time, I mean a lot of time. My teenage children almost grew up, graduated from college, and produced my grandchildren before the operator came back on the line.
The phrase “hold on” has come to mean “please wait”, only it’s not as polite. You almost never hear someone say “please hold on”. No. It’s usually just “hold on”. I thought about the phrase “hold on” so much that the intended meaning of “wait” started to fade away and the physical meaning of “hold on to something” started to emerge. Now I can’t shake it. Now, when someone says “hold on”, I assume they want me to grasp onto something.
I was at the deli counter yesterday and the person working the meat slicer said, “Hold on. I’ll be with you in a minute.” There was nothing to “hold on” to. So I sat on the floor next to my grocery cart. People were staring, but I was concerned that maybe she had some knowledge of a pending earthquake. Or perhaps she was about to start throwing large chunks of ham at me, but didn’t want to knock me down.
You can hear “hold on, the doors are closing” when riding a subway or an airport tram. What happens if you don’t chose to obey but rather purposely keep you hands free of any and all objects? What if you didn’t hear the announcement and you didn’t “hold on”? The doors might never actually close. You be faced with an angry mob of people trying to get to their destination. They’ll all be glaring at you while they “hold on” to the rails and you stand there all clueless with absolutely nothing in your hands. Things could get ugly.
If we tell my dog that we are going for a walk, he goes nuts until we are outside. He will start barking and running from door to door trying to figure out which side of the house we will be exiting from. I’ll say, “Hold on. I have to get the leash.” That’s kind of rude of me to say “hold on” to a dog. The poor creature doesn’t even have thumbs. He couldn’t “hold on” even if he wanted to. I can picture him saying, “Hey, I wouldn’t ask you to carry me, if you didn’t have arms!” Only, my dog can’t talk.
I heard a mother tell her infant baby to “hold on”. She was pulling a bottle from her bag as her kid was crying. “Hold on. I almost have it, sweetie.” Although the baby did in fact have the required opposable digits to achieve the action of “holding”, she did not yet develop the dexterity to actually be able to “hold on”. The only thing her thumbs were good for was involuntarily scratching her own cheeks and gouging her own eyes.
Hold on. This blog entry is about to end.
I can see all of you actually reaching out to “hold on” to something. Not really. I can’t actually see you. That would be creepy if I could.