Porta-Potty Polonaise


Sunset at Polish FestSummer is the time of festivals. Since moving to a larger city, there’s so much to do that I have had to learn to say no, a lot. But my recreation calendar is still ridiculously busy. In fact, I think I’ve been to more festivals this summer than the last 10 years combined. And that’s not including the state fair, which hasn’t even started yet. In fact, I’ll be going to two different state fairs this month. What’s it been so far? A CCFA Take Steps walk of course, but also a collection of art fairs in oppressive humidity, Highland Days in the pouring rain, Irish Fest on a beautiful Friday evening, Independence day, a couple of baseball games, and the list goes on.

I usually avoid such public events, but I’ve been feeling pretty good lately so it’s getting more comfortable to take the risk. Even still, trying to avoid using a porta potty can easily become a tricky endeavor. They’re miserable enough if you’re the first person to use one, but it’s far more typical to feel like the thousandth visitor. It’s a decidedly inelegant dance, trying to do your business while avoiding the many hazards while cramped inside… spatter on the seat deck, drippings on the floor, dribble covering the urinal—usually placed right where your knee is supposed to be… All too often there’s no handle to use for stabilization during this tricky task. And it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of weather you’re in, whether it’s rain or humidity or oven-baked dry neat, the toilet paper is always thin enough to dissolve in your hands.

Last night I had just such an adventure at Polish Fest. I had been looking forward to sampling some of the foods I remember fondly from the summer I spent in Poland. Not long after eating, however, I discovered that my digestive system seems a bit less robust nowadays than it was back then. Was it the kielbasa? The cabbage stew? The cheese and onion perogies? Hmm, maybe it’s no wonder I had to go running for the biffy. The unfortunate part was that I didn’t realize the need until I was past the midpoint across a pedestrian bridge above the mighty Mississippi.

The bridge connected downtown with the festival area across the river. I could either go all the way back to the festival or hope for something closer on the other side. I gambled on the shorter route and, thankfully, disaster was averted. By that, I mean I was spared from both a potentially humiliating accident, and a second round of porta-potty misery (I’d already experienced one of those that night).

I spotted a coffee shop, but in such an urban environment I fully expected the typical “customers only” hassle. So, I had my money in hand, planning to order something quickly at the counter and run off to the bathroom while the latte was brewing. But, to my surprise, the restroom was open and accessible and it didn’t even have a warning sign. It was remarkably clean as well.

I happily purchased a latte afterward and thanked the manager for their friendly restroom policy. It was a beautiful evening and, luckily, I was able to continue enjoying it without a major mishap. Oh, and it was a great cup of coffee too. Na Zdrowie!

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Tags: Narratives , Toilet Talk

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About the Author

Andrew Tubesing is an acclaimed advocate and humorist on the subject of inflammatory bowel disease.