Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Open Letter – Restroom Cell Phone Talkers

Dear Restroom Cell Phone Talkers –

I need a word with you.

I’m sure that at your house, your bathroom is your sanctuary. You can hang out in there, take a soak in the tub, read a novel on the potty, or surf the internet if you are fortunate enough to have something wireless and portable to sneak in there with you.

But our workplace is not your house. And our restroom is not your personal lounge. It is a place to – as privately as possible - seek relief, wash your hands (thoroughly, please), freshen up and move on.

You are not The Fonz.

Our workplace bathroom is not your "office."

So, why – oh, why – are you talking on your cell phone from that corner stall?

So often, you are guilty of the “sneak attack.” This is where you are already in the stall when I arrive and you're on the phone, but you’re in the listening part of your conversation, so I don’t know you’re talking to anyone. (Had I known you were on the phone, I seriously would have gone to a different bathroom on another floor if necessary.) Then suddenly, you start the talking part of your conversation. And, with technology being what it is, I can’t help but think that your talking must be backed up by the sound of tinkling.

I don’t really want my tinkles to be overheard by the friend with whom you’re bashing your ex-boyfriend, the receptionist from your doctor’s office who finally called your prescription in or the mechanic who fixed your car for an amount greater than what you’d agreed to pay. But more, I don’t understand why you’d want the person on the other end of the line to hear my tinkles, your own tinkles or any other Sounds of the Ladies’ Room.

It makes me wonder if you think that the person on the other end of the line isn’t on to you…that somehow, you don’t think they hear the echo-chamber-like effect of the bathroom or the tinkles or any of that. It makes me think that you think that they don’t know what’s up when you say, “Hold on,” set the phone down, pull off some toilet paper from the roll (pretty distinct sound there, Fonzie), and then FLUSH. Do you think they don’t know what they’ve just involuntarily witnessed? Surely, you didn’t ask their permission, “Say, Mr. Jones, I want to hear more about that lawn care special, but I’ve got to use the can. Want to come with me?”

This building is HUGE. We have break rooms, conference rooms and learning rooms that are soundproof. You are allowed to use them! But the fact is that you are either void of etiquette or just flat out too lazy to walk down the hall and you prefer to duck into the one place that is supposed to be reserved for a function that does not require telecommunicating.

Regardless of the reasoning behind your rudeness, I’m asking you to reconsider. Either that, or I may begin using your cubicle as a toilet while you aren’t there.


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