This article was orginally published on February 12,2007
The rules of etiquette govern social behavior and can define a culture, a regional area and other avenues of life. Sometimes the rules of etiquette can be universal while at other times not so universal. With the ever changing force of technology, manners have either conformed or been added to the ways that we interact with each other. This is especially true with cell phones. Cell phones are probably the most convenient piece of technology that has been created in the last 20 years. You can get in touch with a person immediately, use the Internet, and download music and other various things. These cell phones have also become a nuisance in the area of etiquette that I have noticed lately, and this violation occurs at a place most people would not do at home.
The place of violation — the public restroom. Allow me to give you all the basis of how this violation of manners occurs and why it is such an abomination. As you are reading this, the observation comes from what I have seen at the ladies’ public restroom. I’m not aware whether this occurs in the men’s restroom and I’m not going to take that adventurous route in finding out.
Let’s imagine this public restroom is at the mall and the person is standing there, maybe they have just finished doing their business, or they are waiting on someone, and the stalls are full and certain noises are being made that goes along with public restrooms. So then the ringtone of whatever the person has on the phone starts to play. The person then answers the phone and here is where the situation takes a critical turn for the worse.
The person in the public restroom tells them that they are in the restroom. Why is this such a big deal? After all, it does not seem bad from description, oh but my friends there is.
First, where is the consideration for the other person on the other end of the line, I’m pretty sure they were not expecting to hear not only the voice of the person that they were getting in contact with but also the musical sounds of toilets flushing, liquids and solids streaming, struggles sometimes occurring … you get the picture. Then there is the noise factor, maybe it is just me, but the public restroom noise has the tendency to carry a lot further than in other places. So I can only imagine what it is like for the other person on the other end of the line having to listen to the background sounds of certain liquids leaving from a source and I’m not talking about the water coming from the sink.
I can understand taking the call in case of extreme emergency, but does the person really have to announce where they are located? Now in the non-emergency case, just who is that important that the call has to be taken in the public restroom? Also, when at home most people do not carry the cell phone with them to the porcelain throne, let alone answer it. So when did it become perfectly OK to answer it at the public restroom, especially when it is full.
So the next time your favorite ringtone starts to blare from the cell phone and you just happen to be in the public restroom, please have consideration for the name on the display and leave for a less natural waste musical-inspired area. Heck, the elevator music would do just fine.