When Nature Shouldn’t Call


“To what do you attribute this unexpected visit?”

This was the question posed to me by a clear but disembodied voice disturbing my reverie as I sat privately in my stall in the men’s room.

Well, other than it’s none of your business, nature would be my first response.  And it’s not really unexpected: it happens regularly all the time.  But before I could answer,  I got another intriguing question.

“Is there a way that you can prolong your stay?”

Now things were getting a little strange.  I wanted to point our that prolonging my stay was not in my, or other people’s, best interest.  I also wanted to stress that I did not extend my bathroom breaks as excuses to finish the New York Times crossword puzzle, for example.  Once again, before I could respond, the disembodied voice queried me once more.

“Is there some way that I can assist you in fulfilling your mission?”

Now we’ve gone from strange to terribly unsettling.  I had never considered nature’s call as a mission much less that I need the assistance of a total stranger to complete it.  Then suddenly, it all came clear:

“Okay then, we’ll convene a conference call tomorrow at 9 am sharp and look at all alternatives to keep our business with the new client.”

The man in the stall next to me was a businessman who saw no reason to interrupt his business call with a bathroom break.  Ah, the modern inconvenience of the cell phone.  I’m uncertain what the individual at the other end of the call thought about the background sounds during this conversation but I, for one,  am not keen on mixing business calls with nature’s call.

If all of the participants followed the lead of this businessman, I can only imagine what the conference call the following morning sounded like:

[Organizer]:  “Are we all on the call?”

{Sounds of stall doors closing and locking on the other end}


[Organizer]:  “Okay, let’s begin.  Do we have an opinion on how to handle our new client?”


[Organizer]:  After a pregnant pause, “Would you please clarify you statement?”

{Disgusting sound} followed by “I’d prefer not to.”

[Organizer]: ” Okay then, does anyone else have an opinion on how we treat our new client?”

{Disgusting sounds numbers 2, 3 and 4}

[Organizer]:  “Uh, can we take that to a vote?  All in favor of number 2?”

{Sounds of toilets flushing}

[Organizer]:  “The ayes have it.  Let’s all follow up with number 2.  This concludes our meeting; thank you all for attending.”

{Various inaudible sounds and murmurs.}

18 thoughts on “When Nature Shouldn’t Call

  1. Excellent post, as usual!
    I guess some people don’t understand that ‘when nature calls’ it is just a figure of speech.

  2. One of those wonderful posts that have a “Yuk” factor in both senses of the word. I’m of the the same outlook as Kami. On those occasions when somebody is in there on the phone, I also try to liven up the ambiance.

  3. Eeuw. (But I’m laughing at your conference call scenario even though it’s a little too close to reality.) People just have no grasp of reality or propriety. At my gym there are big signs forbidding the use of phones or mobile devices in the change rooms… which naturally doesn’t stop people from using them anyway.

    One day when I was changing, a woman whipped out her laptop, with the webcam facing me, and started checking her schedule. When I reminded her about the rule and the fact that webcams can be remotely activated without her knowledge, she gave me a look as though I’d just stuck my finger up my nose.

    So I took the only recourse available: I mooned her and her webcam. Let’s hope that one doesn’t go viral…

  4. Every time I hear someone talking on their phone in a public restroom, I make sure to repeatedly make loud annoying noises and flush the toilet. This is definitely one of my biggest pet peeves!

  5. I’m going to look at conference calls in a whole new way now…

    Very funny post. Thank you. I don’t understand what possesses people to talk while they piddle–whether they’re talking on the phone or just in general. Some acts are meant to be private!

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