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.

Just Posted

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Press release: Port Alice Health Centre service model announced

“a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority”

First annual Pride Day coming to Port Hardy in August

Pride contributes to a more inclusive and safe community for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals.

Blaney plan helps seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read