When I was younger, we were pretty limited with regards to technology. The microwaves we used were only good for heating certain foods, unless you didn’t mind a consistency similar to rubber. If your car stereo happened to have a cassette player, then you were one of the elite. And don’t get me started on phones. I was quite the conversationalist back in the day. I would spend hours and hours on the phone with girlfriends, chatting about what we were going to wear to school the next day, and even watching television shows together. Not many of us had cordless phones, so having a phone with a cord long enough to reach every room in the house was a big deal. Being able to sit on the porch with it in the summertime was an absolute necessity. And of course you needed to be able to travel to the closet and close the door when the subject of boys came up.
Fast forward 25 years (God, am I that old?) and cell phones have replaced home phones. Small and portable, they can be used pretty much everywhere. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be used everywhere. It is unfortunate that not everyone knows how to draw boundaries when it comes to this mobility. A phone conversation in a restaurant is downright rude, unless you are answering to tell the caller that you will continue your conversation when you have finished dinner. But even worse than that is the restroom conversation. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of talking to someone while I am sitting on the toilet. For one, I prefer to keep my mouth closed in the bathroom if at all possible. If someone happens to speak to me while I am washing my hands at the sink, I will be cordial but for the most part, I like breathing through my nose. I am sure it is a psychological thing, but allowing the contaminated air in the bathroom to pass over my tongue makes me gag. For that same reason, I will never bring my beverage in with me.
Considering my feelings about breathing in the restroom, you can imagine how I must feel about a phone conversation in there. Without question, there will always be someone in the stall using the phone. I overheard a fellow coworker this morning having an argument with what I assume was a bank representative. She was unhappy with the increase in the interest rate on her mortgage and wanted to speak with a supervisor. From the bathroom. With toilets flushing in the background. I wonder if she ever once stopped to think of the image that the person on the other end of the phone must have had in their head. At work, our toilets flush automatically and are controlled by a sensor. Ladies are constantly coming and going and with five stalls, the result is a constant, noisily swirling vortex of water. Don’t forget about the bodily sounds that also make themselves heard. Did this woman expect her banker to take her seriously? I certainly wouldn’t have. If you can’t have the courtesy to call me from an empty conference room instead of the toilet, you surely can’t expect me to go out of my way to assist you. Yet women engage in this sort of behavior every single day. And I only recall this particular conversation so vividly because the woman actually seemed to be getting irritated by all the background noise. Apparently we were being inconsiderate by interjecting extra bedlam into her already heated discussion. She ended the call and then stomped out of the stall without stopping by the sink to wash her hands. (Guess whose food I’ll be avoiding at the next office potluck?) On her way out, she rolled her eyes at no one in particular and muttered under her breath: “It friggin reeks in here.” It’s the bathroom, honey. Stink happens.