It’s obvious we live in an era of multi-tasking.  We read email while we surf the Internet.  We walk and chew gum.  We blog while we work.  We talk on the phone while cooking dinner.

Unfortunatly multi-tasking has gone to the bathroom.  Let me state that I am a multi-tasker, but I multi-task in multi-task appropriate areas … the office, the kitchen and even the car.  But one area that I vow not to multi-task in is the bathroom.

We have a bathroom multi-tasker (BMT) at work.  He’s been known to bathroom multi-task many times.  The first time I came accross our BMT was when I pulled into slot 1 of the urinals.  He was already in slot 2 and had a cell phone to his ear.  One hand was on the cell phone and the other was directing traffic.  While I was relieving myself, the BMT finished his business.

It was the moment I was waiting for … how was he going to pack up while keeping one hand on the phone?  Was he going to set the phone down on the top of the urinal and risk having the phone drop into the pond?  Was he going to use the neck and shoulder pinch to hold the phone in place, thus freeing up the other hand?  What would he say to the other person on the phone?  “Uhhh, hold on <tap … zip … flush> OK, I’m back”

He suprised me.  He continued to hold the phone to his ear with one hand while packing up, zipping up and flushing with the other hand!  And he did it all so swiftly!  I was shocked … dumbfounded.  A few days later while I was alone in the bathroom, I tried to do a one-handed packup-zip-up-flush.  It wasn’t too hard.

The BMT is also known for multi-tasking in the stalls.  Even though I couldn’t see him, I knew exactly who it was.  He was pinching loaves while talking on the cell phone and reading the newspaper (I could hear the ruffle of paper).  Obviously I didn’t see his handiwork so I don’t know how he managed it all when clean-up time came.

So what are these BMTs talking about when they’re talking on cell phones?  What is so damned important that you have to converse to another human being while performing bodily functions?  What does the other person on the other end of the cell phone think while talking to a BMT?  Do they know they’re being talked to while the BMT is cleaning up?  Surely a few choice sound effects will inevitably be heard by the other party.  How would a BMT explain those?  “Oh … that was somebody clapping their hands.”

I’d be repulsed if I knew a BMT was talking to me while he was taking care of business.  What does the BMT say when he receives a phone call?  “Hello James!  I was just thinking about you!  You know what?  I think we need to color the water yellow on our Westpark Mall display.  What do you think?”

I know that there are other BMTs in our office.  A few years ago, one of the admins had to replace Scot’s pager.  He’d been reading a message while doing number 2 when he accidentally dropped the device into the toilet.  Scot must have knew the day was coming.  I don’t know how he extracted the pager.  However, I was there when Scot turned in his broken pager.

Scot handed the pager to Susie the admin.  “It’s broken.  I need a new one.”

Susie was pushing the buttons trying to turn it on.  “What happened?”

“I dropped it in the toilet.”

“OH MY GOSH!!  WHY DID YOU HAND IT TO ME NUMB-NUTS?!”  Susie chucked the pager into the garbage and fled to the women’s restroom where she promptly sanitized her hands.

Poor woman.  Scot was fired a few weeks later.