Bathroom lines are the bane of nightlife, and they only seem to be getting longer. Maybe this is because people are increasingly distracted by their smartphones in the bathroom, unable to go even a single stinky second without human contact. Stop.
I am a huge fan of going to the bathroom, on account of my pathologically tiny bladder. But recently it seems that an increasing number of bars, restaurants, concerts and parties have bathroom lines so long you'd think they were selling the next generation of iPad in the stalls. What gives?
Perhaps the answer lies in this survey by the marketing firm 11mark, which showed people are doing everything on the toilet but voiding their body of waste. 91 percent of people 28 to 35 have used their phones while on the toilet, according to the survey. Not just that: 41 percent of people have made calls while on the toilet (Arianna Huffington has a lot of company) and 16 percent of people 28 to 35 said they have made a purchase on the toilet.
Have distracted pissers have been behind my ever-increasing nightlife agony? I called Clint Edwards, owner of New York's Edwards Bathroom Attendant Services, to see what impact cell phone use has had on the club restrooms to which he deploys attendants.
Edwards, who's been in the business for 8 1/2 years, said he's noticed a big increase recently in toilet talkers and texters—the most marked increase in the last year.
"The thing is, in the club, because the music is loud they need to talk on the phone [in the bathroom]" he said.
Edwards estimated that cellphone-related multitasking has contributed to a roughly five percent boost in the average restroom wait time. Five percent might not seem like much, but to those of us with bladders the size of a grape, every second can mean the difference between dignified relief and a desperate sprint out the door to a dark corner of the nearest high school basketball court. Plus, Edwards' attendants keep things moving. Without a knock on the stall door and a polite reminder from an attendent that other people are waiting, people who have already broken the bathroom-cell phone barrier will jabber on forever.
If there's any sort of line, don't use your phone in the bathroom. This is purely a mater of courtesy, not a referendum on pooping-while-talking, toward which I take a strict don't-ask-don't-tell policy. Do whatever you want on the toilet in your own home. Go wild: Watch Toy Story 3 on your iPhone while mass-texting your book club and face-timing a foreign cousin. But when you're at the club or the bar, for the love of God, focus on the task at hand. No text can be more urgent than what I need to do.