COLUMN: Why must people talk on the phone while on the toilet?

Taking care of business is no one’s business but your own

It’s been years since I first encountered the issue, but to this day, I still can’t quite understand it: why is it that people need to talk on the phone while using the loo?

I remember the first time I “experienced” it. I was in the middle of a phone interview with a woman – for a story that I no longer remember the specifics of – and suddenly, the distinct sound of a toilet flushing came over the line. It was clearly in the very near proximity of the woman I was speaking to, and I remember I was horrified. I’m still horrified.

Now, it’s quite possible that the woman I was speaking with all those years ago was in the middle of some must-be-finished-now cleaning of said toilet, and that the flush was the final rinse that simply couldn’t wait.

But… I’m doubtful.

Thankfully, years passed before the issue began to swirl afresh.

But sadly, in addition to reappearing, the practice has become rather regular. More and more often – weekly, at least, in my experience – I’m hearing the sounds of conversation coming from occupied public washroom stalls, with the chatter continuing through every step of the process.

And these aren’t emergency phone calls – I have no problem with those whatsoever. I’ll even admit that I’ve sent a panicked communication – but not a phone call – from a public-washroom stall myself, after falling ill at the ski hill and being simply too sick to exit without assistance.

I’m OK with anyone reaching out from anywhere, if help is needed.

But casual conversation from the ‘comfort’ of a porcelain bowl? Certainly that can wait, if whatever you sat down to accomplish simply can’t.

At the very least, switch to texting. Then, no one – at all, ever – has to know (wink, wink).

Technology has made amazing advances and one of many highlights – although some may poo-poo the notion – is our increasing ability to keep in touch. Really, there’s next to no excuse for losing track of someone, or not responding in some way.

But there are a few things that really don’t need to come along for the ‘staying connected’ ride, and if you ask me – or even if you don’t – talking while tinkling or taking care of other, ahem, ‘business’ absolutely fits that definition.

I will acknowledge that there are much worse sounds to hear in a public washroom. But, ideally, that’s about the only place they’ll ever be heard, particularly when you’re not the one responsible for them.

Despite the impression social media gives, not all experiences need to be shared. But will abstaining from this particular practice be a movement others can get on board with?

Please, some relief…

Tracy Holmes is a reporter with Peace Arch News.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Haida Gwaii libraries announce their most popular books from the past year

These titles had islanders booking it to the library in 2019

Route 26 reinstated from Skidegate to Alliford Bay

B.C. Ferries service will begin later in January

On the Wing: Christmas bird count reports, part 1

Haida Gwaii’s bird count report for Port Clements and Rose Spit

Queen Charlotte housing assessment jumps 31 per cent

Port Clements and Masset also see increases, according to B.C. Assessment

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read