Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Toilet encounter

I went to the toilet this afternoon. Not such an exciting thing to remark upon, but in one of the cubicles there was a man on the phone, shouting rather loudly. To begin with I thought he was shouting at me, but it's unlike the men of Hong Kong to be so territorial about toilet spaces.

Eventually, he hung up. And then I could hear him scratching away with a pen on a pad of paper.

What was he writing down? Was he some sort of effluvial trainspotter? That seems too dreadful a possibility to contemplate. I know, everyone needs a hobby, but listing the variety and quantity of your emissions, and then ringing somebody up to boast about them? That sounds like a bit too much.

I sat there and waited, wondering if he was going to call up another of his friends to brag about his productivity. After a few minutes I lost interest, and had to go wash my hands. I'm glad he stayed in his cubicle with the door locked shut, because I wouldn't have wanted to face him. Me, the loser in a game of Toilet Chicken.

A braver man would have been inspired to flush his toilet part way through my unseen acquaintance's phone call, leaving him to explain to the person on the other end of the phone exactly where he was. But I've grown up cautious, and I didn't want an embarassed and suddenly enraged man with a ballpoint pen and a phone to be vaulting the partition into my cubicle to extract revenge. For that, my apologies.

How common is it to take calls on the loo? I think this is the first time in two and half years in Hong Kong that I've heard somebody having a chat in there. Have I been missing out all this time?


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