Tuesday Toss-Up

What’s the Worst Place for a Phone Call?

Mobile phones give us tremendous freedom. No more waiting by the phone or frantically leaving messages on somebody’s answering machine1. No more waiting in line for a pay phone2…only to discover you’re out of coins and nobody has change for a dollar. No more slogging along the side of a highway in the rain, looking for a callbox3. No more being chained to your desk.

Of course, being able to take calls anywhere has some drawbacks. Folks (including clients, bosses and nagging relatives) now often expect 24-7 availability.

And then there are those folks who are willing to take calls anytime, anywhere…

Yeah…even there.

And it’s probably more common than you’d like to think.

Where do you draw the line on appropriate phone venues?

Have you ever suspected the person on the other end of the call is somewhere better left unimagined? And what do you do if you’re pretty sure they are?

Bonus question…do you ever answer the phone or make calls from places or in situations that might make others a little squeamish?


BACK TO POST 1 I know somebody out there is saying “what’s an answering machine.” And that just makes me feel old.
BACK TO POST 2 Yeah, payphones. Another relic of a bygone era. My kids think they’re a myth. Along with phone that had cords.
BACK TO POST 3 I still see these occasionally. Which seems like a really good idea for any of those roads with zero cell reception and a zillion miles to civilization.


BACK TO POST Many thanks to TypePad versus WordPress for reminding me how to make working footnotes in a blog post. The last time I used them was in my House of Leaves post. Come to think of it, I probably used the same site to learn how to do them in the first place.

14 thoughts on “What’s the Worst Place for a Phone Call?

  1. I absolutely hate when people in the stalls next to me, or even at the sinks in the restrooms, take cell phone calls. I mean, hello? Is there anything more intrusive that having someone else hear your personal business?

  2. Personally, I hate cell phones. I dislike how intrusive they are in all aspects of our lives. It seems like there is no getting away anymore and I’m always forced to listen to other people work, flirt or fight.

    They have definitely given a new meaning to the term “public” speaking.”

  3. I’m with Tiffany, this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves! Working in a mall for so many years, I would hear people talk on their phones in the bathroom constantly. So…being the polite person that I am, I would make it a point to flush the toilet A LOT while they talked. Because I’m a decent human being, and I want their friend to know that their friend is a disgusting individual. 😀

  4. @Tiffany: It’s definitely that “ewww” factor.

    @Cat: Intrusive is a good word for it. I tend to use the cell sparingly (though I do like the convenience of texting). It’s pretty obnoxious how ppl talk endlessly on the phone everywhere. I thought the novelty would have worn off by now.

    @Jess: What, no fffftt noises? Or comments about how you shouldn’t have had TWO burritos? LOL. I haven’t actually had ppl talking in the stall next to me but I’d be tempted to be really gross if I did. *innocent smile*

  5. Okay so, uh, I don’t take phone calls in bathrooms. I text. Duh. (WINK WINK.) But when I do hear some ridiculous phone calls in the stalls (I go to college, people have no concept of inside voices in a bathroom apparently), it honestly doesn’t bother me that much anymore. Why? This might sound a little odd, but I kind of like hearing the insanity of someone else’s life. It’s good writing material. I also tend to block out other people if they’re annoying me as I walk along. At least I’m not the one looking rude and idiotic. (My logic is undeniable ;D.)

    BUT I do hate it when I’m stuck in the doctor’s waiting room with people talking very loudly on the phone for more than fifteen minutes about how stupid so and so was and yeah they were totally wasted last night. Or they’re just on the phone ignoring their kid.

  6. I work in a library, and I see people using their cell phones right next to the signs saying that they’re in a no-call-zone. I then have the wonderful task of asking them to go to the lobby before they finish whatever conversation they might be having.

  7. Hey, Sonia. *big waves* Sadly, at my old position at work (Packaging Supervisor on a production floor) I had to routinely take and place calls from the “seated position”. My wife sometimes calls me at home during those moments. It usually plays out like the following:
    Me: Hi.
    Her: Hi. What’s ya doing?
    Me: Nothing. What’s up?
    Her: What are you doing?
    Me: Nothing. What’s going on?
    Her: What are you doing? (more aggressively)
    Me: (exasperated) I’m on the potty! Are you happy now?
    *slaps head*


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