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

Haida Gwaii libraries resume inter-branch deliveries

Users can once again access materials from entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Masks mandatory in Old Massett as Haida Gwaii COVID cases total 26

Old Massett Village Council says curfew will be enforced with community service

All-Islands Protocol Table working to restore Haida place names

List of 12 priority names created; Queen Charlotte, Port Clements councils vote to support changes

B.C. premier ‘not going to be apologetic’ about closure of Haida Gwaii fishing lodges

Horgan says ‘public health takes the priority’ over business in implementation of travel restriction

B.C. mogul sells private Naikoon properties to parks system in $1 million deal

NIHO founder Rudy Nielsen sells 320 acres to BC Parks; Ministry statement expected in ‘coming months’

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read