“Rumbled, mate!” Those were the last words I ever expected to hear in the mens room, but hear them I did. So what was I doing? Nothing remotely sinister, or filthy, merely checking my phone. Certainly not the worst crime imaginable, but bad enough that this person needed to remind me, two hours later, and tell at least one co-worker that the belief was that I was taking photos of a certain part of my anatomy.
God, nothing could be further from the truth. And if my co-worker thinks that’s bad, then he best start piddling in the stairwell lest he hear some of the activities that people get up to in the Gents.
Often I take the phone in and either play a game or check a social networking site. Nothing wrong with that, surely. Having said that there’s been a time when I’ve been ruminating the meaning of life and have thought that a school of cockroaches are dancing the Charleston on the tiled floor, such is the level of clicking coming from other cubicles. Text messages seem to be the order of the day, but I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one who actually turns the phone onto stealth mode so that people won’t think I’m in there wasting valuable company time? Clearly so.
I’m also not clear on the correct protocol when it comes to a ringing phone whilst dropping the kids off at the pool, but I’m sure it’s not what one person recently did. The phone rang and it was answered. Normal conversation up until the point when the person was clearly asked the obvious, “Where are you?” The answer went like this, “Mate, I’m having a shit,” followed by some grunting, an enormous fart and a splash, “What? Can’t you tell?” I’m sure there’s people in the Arctic circle that heard that one.
I’ve been on the end of such a call. I once phoned someone and asked what the noise was in the background. “Oh, I’m just taking a piss,” was the reply. “You dirty bastard. Call me when you get out then.” My colleague was genuinely puzzled when he phoned back. I asked what he was thinking, answering the phone while urinating, and got a reply along the lines of ‘Business doesn’t wait for anyone and anything”. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’s one of these people you see on Funny Home Videos who answers the phone during speeches, weddings, funerals or Bar Mitzvahs.
Now I have no idea if there’s an official set of guidelines in regards to telecommunications and the toilet, but if there is I’d love to see it. As it stands there’s an official stance on almost anything and everything a person can possibly do at the workplace, from the correct way to butter bread, dip the tea bag, photocopy one’s anus through to repairing electronic equipment (the short answer is you don’t. You call someone else and let them do it, and expect a two week turn around), how to develop high level mapping and, memorably last year, the correct protocol in regards to drinking at office parties and possible sexual encounters (the short answer: don’t drink too much, make sure it’s consensual, get a witness to the latter and don’t do anything in the office. I’m still not sure if the witness has to come home and make sure consent is given for the entire process though, not that it matters; a colleague once followed the rules religiously, was pursued by a co-worker, and was accused of rape once the co-workers husband discovered the indiscretion. Luckily for my colleague, he kept all the emails and text messages, along with the recorded messages – it never went to trial, but as he was sacked before anything went anywhere, he was then able to sue, get reinstated with back pay, and then promptly resigned) that might eventuate. Surely then I can expect to see a focus group established the an emphasis on how one should comport themselves when making use of the amenities, with an emphasis on what is acceptable behaviour when entering and leaving the cubicle, noise levels, odour and dress sense. Gone are the days when a man went to the can with a folded up copy of ‘Jugs’ in his back pocket for a bit of fasturbation, but in this day and age it would seem that the kind of worker that does that has a job description of winnettpicker or lower. The more sedate, and executive gentleman now keeps his grumble on the phone and clicks away until his little heart is content.
And then answers it, hopefully at the point of not.