Saturday, February 02, 2008

Toilet Manners

Recently during happy hour one of my co-workers was wondering about the proper etiquette when you are in a bathroom stall ready to flush and the party across the wall is engaged in what appears to be a very meaningful cell phone conversation. Do you flush the toilet and give away the whereabouts of your neighbor or wait until they are done ?

The question weighing on his mind was what conversation was so important that it could not wait until after taking a leak. Naturally, this lead to talk about how long to wait and what if inappropriate sounds were emanated and heard by the party on the other side of the phone. Would it not be embarrassing for the party with bowel movement challenges to have their plight broadcast via cell phone ? Did people no longer have a right to some measure of privacy in a public restroom as they answered nature’s call ?

Such are the conundrums of the modern world. Time was when you retired to a secluded spot in the woods to do your business undisturbed by man or beast (hopefully). This conversation reminded me of my roommates in college. We shared a room and a bathroom in our junior year. She always turned deathly silent once she got in the toilet.

She refused to respond to urgent queries like "Where did you keep the iron ?" or "Have you seen my physics notes ?" even if you pounded desperately on the bathroom door to get her attention. Over time I realized that she was serious about silence while in the toilet - it was almost like she had never been there or did not have body functions like the rest of us. You never heard the flush less other sounds associated with such functions. She drowned them all by turning a tap on at full force to fill an empty bucket. When she came out she had also had a bath and was smelling of Dreamflower talc.

I had to wonder how someone like her would cope with the many outrages of etiquette in public restrooms. As for my co-worker I suggested that he send his query to Miss Manners - surely he was not alone in his public restroom dilemna.

1 comment:

ggop said...

I'm with the crowd that's weirded out by people talking in public restrooms. I have come across some women like your former roommate, they intensely dislike any sound from the bathroom and often quibble when they hear unpleasant (hey but they are natural!) noises (not the flush if you get my drift)