RIP ‘Sandals and Dreams’—Hennepin County has finally changed its hold music

Getty Images

Getty Images

A very minor miracle occurred at or around 1 p.m. on September 4, 2018.

The anxiety-inducing saxophone nightmare that has haunted anyone using Hennepin County services for the past decade or so has mercifully left us. If you work in social services, use social services, or use any county department reachable through 612-348-3000 or 612-596-1300, you may mourn the loss of this tinny, screechy elevatorless elevator music, a single song played forever on repeat, its only redeeming quality its horrifying consistency.

The Franciscan calendar says St. Rose of Viterbo is in charge of miracles today so thank a young girl who decided to be a nun at 10 years old in 1243 AD.

After a couple calls to some very smart people In Charge of Hold Music and various other Hennepin County employees, I wasn’t able to figure out how the county’s hold music works, why the hold music would change, or if the change is permanent. (Please be permanent.) So my advice is CALL THE COUNTY AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR BUSINESS BEFORE THE OLD MUSIC COMES BACK LIKE SOME SEXY BORING ZOMBIE WITH BIG SAD EYES WHO STEALS YOUR FEELINGS.

A Facebook friend warns:

Me too.

The old song was often falsely attributed to Kenny G, but thanks to some angry reporting from Tigger Lunney in 2016  we now know it was the work of the Francia Jazzline Orchestra titled, without irony, “Sandals and Dreams.

Me, I already own three pairs of sandals and my dream has always been to listen to different hold music. The new music isn’t great—I guess I should’ve specified what music I wanted to hear in that dream. It’s still in the style of light jazz elevator music, bereft of drums or any kind of beat, but the three selections I heard while on hold included crazy new shit like harps, triangles, flutes, and definitely a clarinet. The cool girls in band always got to play the clarinet while I was assigned the baritone horn so this was the definitely first time I was truly thankful to hear the clarinet. But if the clarinet was at a party and sidled up to me clutching a glass of pink Franzia and slurred, “I heard you like me now,” I would be like, “Look, I need you to understand the bar was super super low.”

We can never truly know the story behind “Sandals and Dreams,” let alone what happened in the last minutes of this song’s life, but I am a smart person so I can guess.

Probably back around 2005 or so someone played the song out of their flip phone. It was recorded onto a one-minute tape loop, and that tape was kept in one of Hennepin County’s most secure and guarded rooms. Every time someone was put on hold their line was connected to the room’s vintage Sanyo speakers. Until today, when the tape broke, probably because of high humidity, on the very same day that Hennepin County’s tape-loop expert retired, fully vested.

I was, by another little miracle, able to speak with the woman responsible for the voice on the calming voice prompts at 612-596-1300. She said she was not sure who to contact about the hold music but I thanked her for her soothing interruptions and clear prompts. On hearing of the passing of “Sandals and Dreams” she could only say, solemnly, “Its time in our world has come.”

Things I will miss:

1. Everyone in the room or on the bus with you immediately recognizing where you called and that you were on hold.

2. Annoying co-workers and dis-inviting conversation with them by putting the hold music on speakerphone.

3. The fierce type of camaraderie created only by severe snowstorms, tornadoes, and Hennepin County hold music.

Things I won’t miss:

1. Being angry for no other reason than the hold music by the time I get to speak to a nice helpful person.

2. Imagining Kenny G’s butt playing a saxophone.

3. Hanging up and going down to Century Plaza because it was better than listening to the hold music. (Also RIP Century Plaza.)

So let’s listen to “Sandals and Dreams” together, in our hearts (hopefully) one last time.

AWFUL, AWFUL UPDATE: City Pages regrets to inform you that as of 9/10/18, "Sandals and Dreams" is back. Sorry we got your hopes up. 😞