Smile Politely

A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine: Summer Fun Edition

Summer is already halfway over, but fear not, because this installment of A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine is jam packed with so much summer fun, it’ll be like a whole second summer on its own. A second summer that’s like 1000 words long, so maybe not quite as big as the actual summer, but I do what I can.

The Gazebo in West Side Park (henceforth known as West Side Gazebo)

When I was assembling ideas for a summer column, I put the call out to my friends on Facebook, many of whom have lived here much longer than I have, asking for a building in town that embodies the spirit of summer. I got a number of good responses – Jarling’s, the Lake House at Crystal Lake Park, your friend’s house where all the BBQs happen (you know the place). One person however declared “I love the gazebo in Westside Park!” When pressed on why she felt so strongly about this gazebo, she replied, “I guess I love that people from all walks of life see it as useful and beautiful.”

It’s true, though this structure is frequently inhabited by teenage hooligans or local homeless, lots of other stuff happens inside this roof on pillars. Weddings happen here, bands play here, and major activist events start here. So it’s good building, especially on a warm summer’s day, but can it pass my rigorous review process?!

Yeah, it’s fine.
Apparently this thing is actually called Bilbrey Bandstand and was christened in 2008. There seems to be overlap between the terms “bandstand” and “gazebo.” I’m going to keep calling this thing a gazebo because it’s more fun to say, even though it’s not octagonal like many gazebos.

There are mysterious stains on the concrete floors, but that’s par for the course I’m sure.

Honestly not sure how to review this thing it’s so innocuous, so I guess I’ll just have to make some crap up.

*straightens professor glasses*
*clears throat loudly*

Well, what we have here is a prime example of Neo Post-Classical gazebo construction. Obviously the designer is making a rebellious statement against the Hyper-Revival of Midcentury Shapes which utterly dominated gazebo theory and design during the 1990s. This particular structure has a timeless quality to it, conferred by its use of uh, angles, and wood and stuff?

If you need some shade and a commanding view of West Side Park, this gazebo has you covered! (Get it? Covered? HEH.)

Eating froyo for dinner

During the winter (which I also refer to as “The Dark Times,” or the “Why the Hell Do I Still Live in This Place Times”) I generally subsist on hearty homemade stews, cheesy casseroles, and lots of microbrewed stouts. In summer though, we all tend towards lighter fare. Maybe a nice salad, a tuna sandwich on toast or, if you’re like me, a heaping cup of frozen yogurt. Everyone here has made a meal of froyo at one point or another. There’s no need to be ashamed. What I always say is that having froyo for dinner is way better for you than eating a real dinner and then stuffing your face with froyo for dessert.

Now, I’m definitely not advocating ice cream for dinner. Everybody knows that froyo is healthier than ice cream. Froyo is just like, two steps down from kale in the healthiness hierarchy, but ice cream, wow, that stuff will turn you into Jabba the Hutt after a single portion.

Froyo for dinner can be dangerous though. You gotta be careful about those toppings. Try to stick with fresh fruits and such. Maraschino cherries are fresh right? I’ll get a few of those. Oh, and gummy bears are basically fruit, toss in a couple of them. Maybe a few more so they’re not lonely. Nuts are great for you so we’ll get a handful of peanuts. This is basically the Mediterranean diet. Everyone knows sprinkles are zero calories because they’re so small so pile those bad boys on. Annnnnd, I had a stressful day at work so I deserve four brownie squares instead of my traditional three.
Perfect, the summer meal of champions.

I can’t recommend eating froyo for dinner enough during the summertime. If you still need dessert after your froyo, I can point you toward a number of my favorite summer beers.

A Midwest Pottyhouse portable toilet

Whether you’re at some big outdoor event or just chilling at The Sipyard, summer is peak season for using porta potties. Last week I attended the Midwest Beer Fest which supplied this fine row of rentable restrooms which I decided to check out.

First off let’s talk about the company name. This is often the first thing you notice when you’re walking up to a porta potty, and I’ve seen a wide range of great toilet rental company names:  John’s Johns, Dan’s Cans, Claudette’s Toilets, Kaptain Klaus’s Mobile Outhouses, all great. These particular examples are from Midwest Pottyhouse which, though pretty fun to say, doesn’t rhyme or involve a pun sadly. I dug deeper though and determined that Midwest Pottyhouse is an anagram for “Smutty Poo Shit Weed,” which is pretty hilarious I think.

Alright, down to the actual potty in question. Boy, porta potties have actually gotten pretty nice. This one has a urinal, hand sanitizer (which not only has the Midwest Pottyhouse logo, but also says “Compliments of Midwest Pottyhouse” just in case somebody thought they had to pay for using the hand sanitizer?), and look, there’s a little mirror for your nose-powderin’ needs.

When you get right down to it though, you’re still just excreting into some weird blue chemicals inside a hot plastic box. I guess that’ll never change.

This potty certainly isn’t my favorite place to be, but it’s much better than pissing in front of everyone at a festival.

That’s all for this month. Make sure to tell me about your preferred froyo toppings in the comments. 

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