The bathroom stall phone call

Cell_phone_toilet Like it or not, cell phones at work have become a fact of life. But just because your little portable pal is ringing, doesn’t mean you need to answer.

This week, according to the CTIA Wireless Association, cell phone penetration hit 82% in the US. Presumably we in Canada can’t be far behind.

With so many people carrying phones with them, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we use them literally everywhere we go. The question is, where do we (or should we) draw the line?

When Marc Saltzman recently asked the question Do You Drive and Talk? we heard from a lot of folks who feel that talking and driving is unnacceptable.  Seems almost everyone has a story about a bad driver who suddenly veered into another lane because they were too busy talking on the phone to do a proper shoulder check.

It also appears that people are getting fed up with cell phone conversations or random ringtones spoiling their dinners while at restaurants or in movie theatres. Manufacturers are ‘answering the call’ for privacy with >personal cell phone jammers that can supposedly block all calls to and from mobile phones within a 40 foot radius. Think that’s a great idea? Think again: they are >definitely not legal in Canada.

But perhaps the most socially questionable use of mobile technology is in the bathroom, especially public ones. Stuart Jeffries from the Guardian has mused on the ability some men have shown in being able to >urinate and conduct a phone call simultaneously.  Yes, it seems >women do this too.

Why do we feel the need to be in touch no matter where we are or what we are in the middle of doing? Recently a colleague of mine called me and asked, "I just tried calling you on your cell – you didn’t pick up." "I know, I was in the bathroom," I replied. Pause. "Oh," he said. Hmm, maybe bodily functions are no longer an excuse for missing a call.

Then there’s the whole question of hygiene. You wash your hands after doing your business (don’t you?) – maybe we should be wiping off our handsets too. It’s been well documented that our >computer keyboards can be filthier than toilet seats. I wonder what the germ count on a typical Blackberry is.

So where do you stand (or sit) on the question of cell phones in the bathroom? Is it ok to place or take a call while on the toilet? Are there other places or times when using a phone or PDA is simply not okay?



  1. Pingback: If It Rings, Must You Answer It? :: From the Desk of Janet Barclay