Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hang up and flush!

I don't sleep well lately. I either have a difficult time getting to sleep, or once there I have a hard time staying that way. I wake anywhere between 1:30 and 5:00 am and lie in bed making deals with myself: "If I go to sleep right now, I can still get five hours...If I fall asleep now, I can make it tomorrow on three hours..." and so on.

But it's not the lack of sleep that gets me. It's the things I obsess over while lying there that really wear me out. Last night's example-- cell phones in public restrooms.

A few months ago I ducked into a restroom at the college. I enclosed myself in my stall, and then heard the woman in the stall next to me ask, "What did you tell him?"

"Excuse me?" I replied, more than a little confused. "That's what I told him, but he won't listen to me!"

And then I realized the woman wasn't speaking to me at all, but rather to someone on her cell phone. I was stunned, and thought perhaps I was mistaken, but then I heard the tinny, far-away voice responding to her. After I got over my initial shock, I found myself in a predicament. I was finished with my business, but now I didn't know what to do. Do I flush, or do I wait? I think I missed the memo on proper cell phone etiquette on the toilet. If I flush, I give her up to whomever she's talking to. If I wait, she'll think I'm eavesdropping on her conversation. If I just leave the stall...no, don't go there.

Then the woman let me off the hook; she flushed. Oh my gosh! What would I do if someone I was talking to on the phone suddenly flushed? I mean, that's like taking me into the stall with them. I don't want to be in the stall with anyone. That's just a little too cozy a friendship for me.

It made me feel only a little better to see the woman wash her hands, phone snuggly cradled between her shoulder and ear.

I would have chalked this up to an anomaly, but I have witnessed similar incidents no less than three times in three different towns. Apparantly we've become a society so technologically plugged in that we feel no need for private space. We are so wired we cannot disconnect for even the most-- personal-- activities. What exactly are we afraid we're going to miss in those few precious moments we spend in the bathroom? On the other hand, maybe there's nothing wrong with the public sharing of private acts-- isn't that what reality tv is built on?

Perhaps I am too old for the 21st century. I don't know. But it's enough to keep me awake at night.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. How sad has society become that they can't tell the person they will call them right back??? We even have people that hang out in the restroom to make personal phone calls.