Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Etiquette - it’s not just a French word

I traveled to Washington, D.C. on business yesterday. I flew in just for the day so I had quite a bit of airport time in a less-than-twenty-four-hour period. We all knw how tiring it is to traverse the airport these days - the undressing, the redressing, the lines, paying for things that once were included or the inability to bring a drink from one side of security to the other and the probability of paying huge fees for one while you wait anxiously for your flight.

But none of this troubled me so much yesterday, despite challenging weather, as an event that happened in a most unlikely place - at least in my experience. Perhaps I'm getting use to the "fun" of traveling these days or perhaps I'm in denial, but other than being tired, the thing that bothered me the most occurred in the restroom. Ah - got your attention!

No sooner did I sit down on the porcelain pedestal to do what one does in this setting when I hear the loud voice of what sounded like a young woman enter the restroom. It wasn't difficult to surmise that she was on her cell phone. People just talk differently on their cell phones - loud and uncensored.

Okay, that seems to be something more and more difficult to avoid these days, but what happened next really shouldn't have happened, especially in a public/semi-public location. The young woman entered the stall next to mine and continued to talk on the phone while she did her business. In a sudden moment, the sense of privacy and respect for boundaries was gone. Call me old-fashioned, but the idea of talking with someone while urinating - or while they're urinating - rates high up on the yuck scale.

Yet, I've even heard stories where people talk on their cell phones while having sex. I hope this is one of those urban myths, but given the blurring of social etiquette boundaries, maybe not.

Perhaps this would be an interesting character point in a story but I strongly suggest that nobody call their editor, agent or other representative in the publishing industry while taking care of such private matters. Some events just shouldn't be done simultaneously despite the drive in society today to multi-task. Besides, often the porcelain pedastal is the only place I get a chance to rest - why would I want to mess with that!


Morgan Mandel said...

I've also heard this right in my office building. No place is spared from cell phones!

Morgan Mandel

Meg said...

I'm with you! Some things just shouldn't happen.

LJ said...

I have experienced this is numerous placed and find it appalling. I just can't imagine anything thinking this is an acceptable thing to do, no matter how "noise-canceling" the mike on your phone may be.

Anonymous said...

There are also some people who use the airport bathroom stall as an "office" -- doing not the "business" one might assume, given the location, but just sitting down and making a phone call.

Margot Justes said...

I agree, the though of using a cell phone in the bathroom is ridiculous-what on earth could be that important? At the airport I ususally find the quietest place to sit, even if it means moving several times, until I have to get to my gate.
Margot Justes