Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yes, Well, Moving Right Along Then....

Much as I’d love to dwell in the warm afterglow of my good news forever, I need to get back to work. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Do you have any IKEA furniture in your home? Probably you do.

Maybe like me, you went out into the world after college and needed a cheap end table or a computer desk. And you were young and had a lot of free time on the weekends, and you also had a friend with a roof rack on his car. And because you had those things, you thought, gosh, I don’t mind driving an hour in heavy traffic out to the suburban hinterlands and wandering around this warehouse of stuff that’s set up like some kind of retail slaughterhouse, driving you onward through theses chute-like aisles toward the register where they’re either going to ring you up or electrocute you and drain all the blood from your body. And maybe, like me, as you were pushing your funky Swedish shopping cart around, you wondered, why on God’s green earth did I just buy lingonberry jam? I don’t even know what lingonberries are. And those Swedish meatballs from the IKEA cafeteria will no doubt come back to haunt me later as most meat-in-cream-sauce dishes usually do. But even knowing that, you still got right back on the path and followed the arrows, and you thought, why am I doing this? I’m no better than some cow the way I’m meekly following these slaughterhouse arrows. Except I’ve got a credit card. Yes, I’m a cow with a credit card. A cow with a credit card who doesn’t mind spending forty-five minutes trying to figure out which cushion covers fits the Helga dining table chairs. And I need that cheap sack of 500 tea lights, because God knows I’m forever putting my own furniture together with one of those Allen wrench thingies by candlelight.

So then later, you manage to get all the stuff tied onto the roof rack, and you get it all home, and you don’t fully realize that what you've done is sentence yourself to staring at blond-wood pine furniture for a decade or more. And actually, now that you look at it carefully, some of it’s not really even pine. It’s some kind of composite stuff, and when you put the doors on that wardrobe you bought, you can’t get the hinges straight, and you don’t care what the friggin’ directions say, there must be a damned screw missing or something.

Well, tough Swedish meatballs, because you’re good and screwed. You've got an entire apartment full of the stuff now. And little do you know that after ten or twelve or sixteen years of looking at that IKEA stuff – the table and the end table and the night stands and the wardrobe -- you will swear on Thor’s hammer that you will not enter into the fourth decade of your life with a single piece of IKEA furniture in your house because you HATE IT LIKE LINGONBERRIES.

But you can’t make good on that oath. No, you can't. It's like Thor's Day becoming Thursday. It's become a fact of your everyday life now. That IKEA stuff, it’s still around and ever shall it be. Somehow you just can’t get rid of it completely. Sure, maybe you chucked that Ektorp futon, but the rest of that stuff you bought that fateful day at IKEA? It still lingers on in some form. It has morphed from your bestest coffee table into a TV table in the playroom, and your crooked IKEA wardrobe is where you now store empty paint cans. And you realize, my God, it’s quite possible that I will never, ever be rid of this crap. Maybe no one ever gets rid of IKEA furniture. When the apocalypse comes, all that’ll be left will be Keith Richards, a bunch of cockroaches, a whole lotta Styrofoam cups, and IKEA furniture. I mean, nobody wants to buy the stuff off you. Heck, other people -- they’ve got friends of their own with roof racks who are planning to take a drive out to Newark, and they can buy brand new IKEA furniture for next to nothing. And you think, fine, go! You’re going to be in for the same surprise when you realize that these Swedish masterminds have sentenced you to a life of staring at pine furniture that’s all lopsided, and you can’t even blame anyone else for that because you’re the one who put it together. Those IKEA design guys might as well have tied that Helga dining room table to your leg and had you drag it around for fifteen years. And, sure, try giving it away if you want to. Nobody wants it. People will just laugh and laugh and laugh right in your face. It’s like trying to give away a box of shoe horns. Who uses a shoe horn anymore to put his shoes on? No one, that's who.

Where am I going with this? Hell, if I know. I just had IKEA furniture on my mind today. Actually I think I had intended to make a point about how sometimes you get this idea for writing about one thing, but then it transforms into something else. You start off thinking, hey, this is a great idea but then, after a while, you sort of realize that your idea is just, you know, kind of stupid.

Obviously things got away from me.