Day’s Verse:
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

Revelation 5:13

The other day while I was “resting” at work, I had a remarkable experience. I was sitting in the stall minding my own business when I heard a cell phone ring in the stall next to me. Immediately that joke story about the bathroom cell phone conversation came to mind and, I admit, I keenly listened to hear if the cell phone owner would answer.

She did!

As she said, “Hello, this is Anna*,” I had to cover my mouth with both hands to keep from howling with laughter. I could hardly restrain myself from snickering, or flushing early just to do it during her conversation, or making untoward (and unnecessary) bathroom-related noises. Then, as her conversation progressed, I started wondering what she would do when she was done. I don’t usually intentionally listen to people in the bathroom, but I admit this time I noticed when she finished and zipped up. Then I wondered: What is she going to do? Flush during the conversation and give away that she was in the bathroom? Wait until the conversation is done? Finally she ended up just finishing the conversation fairly quickly and flushing after she hung up. I stayed in my stall, snickering quietly to myself, until she left.

After this felicitous occurrence, I looked up the etiquette for cell phones in bathrooms. According to Good Housekeeping, you should not answer your phone in a public restroom because it ruins the privacy of the bathroom. The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette (really!) recommends that people in my position flush “frequently and loudly.” If only I had known! Another site recommends leaving cell phones outside of the bathroom, and several others agree: Just don’t answer the darn phone in the bathroom, no matter how important the call!

But honestly, setting aside the whole gross germs thing (wipe your butt and then…answer your phone?! Ew!), what could be so important that she had to answer? If you only have to go real quick, you can call back within a few minutes; and if you have a lot of business to conduct in the bathroom, well, do you want to be on the phone in that situation? I can’t envision a situation that requires cell phone usage in the bathroom. In any case, I know that in the future I won’t restrain myself from flushing, perhaps multiple times, during somebody’s bathroom cell phone conversation.

* Names have been changed to protect the identities of people in this story.

KF quality

7 thoughts on “Bathroom Etiquette: Cell Phone Use

  1. this is a good way to accidentally drop your phone in a freshly used toilet. i have heard iterations of that story from many people. dont answer your phone in the stall!

  2. There was a time a while ago a coworker somehow dropped her badge (which most people keep clipped to their waists or pants pockets) in the toilet. I couldn’t figure out the logistics of that one.

  3. In your post, you include the sentence:
    The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette (really!) recommends that people in my position “frequently and loudly.”

    There seems to be a critical verb missing. What exactly is one to do “frequently and loudly”?
    Honestly, I am having a hard time seeing my keyboard, for the tears of laughter in my eyes. Please, save me from the visions that are passing through my mind as I try out one verb after another…
    Or perhaps you could turn this into a contest where readers insert their favorite verb! 😯

  4. So where’s the fun in that? I guess my pickiness is what makes me a good copy editor. I may not be able to see the forest for the trees, but I certainly can see the trees!

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