I stayed in a hotel recently that had this sign on the bathroom wall. It was located right above a wall phone within arm’s reach of the toilet, and it caught my eye because both the sign and the phone seem so outdated.

I remember the first time I saw a phone in a hotel room bathroom and thought, “Whoa! I feel so important now, like some rich executive who gets so many phone calls he has to be available every minute of the day, even when he’s taking a dump!” The very next thought that occurred to me was that I would never want to touch that phone, because everyone who had used it before me had done so before washing their hands. Of course, they might have been the kind of person who never washed before leaving any bathroom, so the other phone, on the night table, might be similarly infested with their bodily excretions — and considering it was next to the bed, there was even more effluvia to consider.

However, in our modern era, where everyone has a smart phone, who even uses the hotel-provided phones, regardless of where they’re located? Instead, they take their cell phones into the bathroom, because you never know if your cousin has posted a picture of their dinner on Facebook or Instagram since you last checked five minutes ago. They’re also answering calls while still on the toilet — hopefully mastering the concept of muting before flushing — but their lack of hygiene discipline won’t affect me, because I won’t be handling their phone (or any one else’s, for that matter).

The other part of the sign that made me smirk was the one regarding “phone rates.” Now that we all have unlimited calling on our mobile devices, there’s no such thing as being charged more for long distance vs. local or based on the length of your call. The only phone rate anyone cares about applies to data usage, which can never apply to that handset near the toilet — where the word “stream” has an entirely different connotation.