Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Potty Mouth

Call me conservative and color me red, but I often feel that good old-fashioned manners and consideration is well on its way to being the same kind of dinosaur VHS tapes are: obsolete and rarely utilized. Much of the decline of what I consider polite can be traced back to an item I hold near and dear: the cell phone. Now don't take this the wrong way -- I love my cell phone. Can't live without it; can't even leave the house without BlackBerry in hand. But it seems that in our constant need to be connected and the fast-changing abilities and functions of our handheld devices, people are forgetting that there are still some common rules of behavior that should be adhered to. Just because technology is changing at a lightning speed doesn't mean that manners become a moot point.

Photo from a related post from Marie Clare
My cell phone pet peeve of today is their use in public restrooms. I mean, whatever, it's cool if you want to talk on the pot at home, but I'm sorry, there is no conversation so urgent that you can't wait, in a public space, until after you wipe, flush, and wash to continue. If you say to your friend/family member/associate that you will have to call them back since you're headed to the bathroom, it's more than likely that they will understand and actually appreciate the fact that you aren't relieving yourself in their ears.

What blows my mind even more is when an individual will go to the bathroom, pull their pants down, sit on the toilet, and settle down for a discussion, dialing as waste exits their bodies. How is this even appropriate?

Now, I understand that some people cannot use their cell phones in their offices, and/or have no privacy to make personal calls during the workday. The bathroom is a somewhat safe place ... but really, how safe is it when offices are co-ed? It's not as if someone else from your office could not walk in on you in the john, yapping away at the sink or in a stall. And for that matter, why take up a perfectly good, clean stall if not to use it?

To the people that think this type of behavior is acceptable, I just want to address a few things from my perspective, just for the sake of courtesy and consideration for your fellow wo/man. I'm not necessarily saying that all of these points aggravate me in particular or make me feel weird, but I know many people who have these particular quirks that maybe, just maybe, toilet-talkers should think about.
  1. An individual may be okay with talking on his/her cell phone while excreting matter, but the person on the other line may not be. Grunts and tinkles are just uncomfortable to ignore, and it seems very rude to force someone who cannot control their conversation's environment (since they aren't physically there) to be in such an intimate setting. No one in your building needs to know you well enough to know what you sound like when you eliminate waste.
  2. In a public bathroom, things tend to echo that much louder due to the cheap commercial tile and sparseness that is pretty much the norm. Some people are shy. Some people have difficulties just peeing in public, not to mention pooing. When the sound is that much more amplified, it could be that much more mortifying. They may not like these already loud, primitive noises to be broadcast to strangers, to say the least.
  3. What if someone has a stomach problem and needs to emit gas? A fart in public is awkward and embarrassing, and it's even more awkward and embarrassing, I would think, to have to explain out loud to the person on the phone that it was actually not you, in fact, that had the bean burrito for lunch and is sorry for it.
  4. This goes back to my basic cell phone etiquette post: no one cares. Seriously. No one gives a crap about whatever mundane or mediocre thing happens to be your internal gossip for the day. They are outsiders to your life, and don't understand why your story is funny, don't get your point, and have no idea what you're going on about. So save it.
Now, I'm aware that this all comes off really harsh and bitchy, but I just wish that people would think about others every once in a while, even when it comes to something as simple as going to the bathroom. Like I said, it's not that all of the above applies to me, but the fact that I think of these things and not everyone else does that really bothers me. The world would really be a much better place if we bring back the concept of "putting oneself in someone else's shoes."

1 comment:

EE said...

...what about text messaging, reading newspaper, magazine, etc...just wondering what your thoughts are re: above.