Has bathroom etiquette gone down the toilet? (I know it’s bad but I couldn’t resist.) I’ve never understood the appeal of talking on the phone while using the crapper. Who thinks, “I’m going to be in there awhile so I might as well do two things at once and call my good friend John”? You’re having a private moment so keep it private.
Now, I understand that the urge to use the bathroom can come up while in the midst of a phone conversation. I’ve been there plenty of times. But, really, how hard is it to say, “Can I call you right back? I have to run to the restroom”? I’d much rather someone stop me mid-sentence than to hear the tell-tale sound of a toilet flushing. Once I hear that flush, my mind flashes to the person to whom I’m speaking, sitting on the can. I really don’t want to think about that when I’m trying to have a conversation.
Now with cell phones, talking while doing, er, personal business is no longer restricted to the home. I spend a good chunk of my week in a retail store and, therefore, a public bathroom. When I walk into the restroom (or if I’m in there already) and someone else walks in, it doesn’t take long to figure out if that person is on the phone. For one, only half of the conversation can be overheard. When this happens, not only am I empathetic to the poor, unsuspecting guy on the other end of the line, I’m also torn with a decision to make. Should I flush the toilet (one of those loud, I’m-sucking-all-the-water-from-the-earth, flushes) and rudely interrupt their conversation. Or do I quietly wait until she is either done with the call or done with the restroom?* But then I tell myself that it was that other lady’s choice to walk in the bathroom before kindly ending her conversation so why should I have to go out of my way for her? She willingly walked into the restroom where toilets have been known to flush and I have work to do so there’s no way I’m waiting around for her to finish up. When I flush the toilet, knowing full well that the loud noise will be heard on the other end of the phone, I secretly hope that it will be louder and longer than normal, even though I know it’s not possible.
*Technically, I could just not flush and then go about my day, but several times I’ve been the one to come in after someone who hasn’t flushed and that’s just as disgusting to me as talking on the phone while on the toilet.