Was there ever such a Zen-inducing activity? Someone could be on the other end of the line talking at you for hours about their travails with their pet goldfish, their boyfriend, their lack of cash, their lack of luck, their lack of… Well, almost anything, really, as you’d stopped listening hours ago. You were there to perform a vital personal service — an unburdened soul is less weight upon the world, after all — and all you had to do was utter the occasional: “Um.” That kept the caller unburdening.
Another scenario: You are on hold. The Finance department has transferred you to the Complaints department who are all out at lunch, so the switchboard operator has optimistically put your through to the Claims department where the phone just rings and rings…
Or consider this: You are on a call to a major multinational whose automated answering service alternately tells you that your call is important then plays you Greensleeves for five minutes; this signals that your call couldn’t be less important in the grand scheme of things and they’d sooner you rather went away.
What is to stop a telecommunications enthusiast from:
a) hurling the telephone out of the window
b) committing an unpardonable act, possibly involving bloodshed
c) the ingestion of arsenic?
The little spiral phone cord.
You could twist it this way…
Then you could twist it that…
The world turned, Greensleeves lost all of its joy and most of its delight, and you decided to have a Terry’s Neapolitan while you waited. The attempted unravelling of the cord kept you in a state of calm acceptance instead of murderous mayhem.
You could sit at your telephone table and twist the cord for hours because whichever way you twisted, there was always one half-twist that would never even out. Twist this way… No! Twist that!
It made no difference. The phone cord would never be perfect, never be whole, never be even, no matter how many twistings or untwistings you gave it. Still, that wasn’t going to stop you. You could try.
In the meantime, the travails came to a dismal end, the Complaints department came back from lunch, and Greensleeves gave way to someone shouting “Hello? Hello?”
It didn’t matter. You were calmly oblivious. You had twisted your way to nirvana, a complete state of utter calm.
Until you got the phone bill.