I have some vacation days scheduled in November and December. I know that a lot of people like to say that they save their days as long as possible and end up blowing it all on a trip to Florida in August, but I was raised Catholic and never had any money, okay, so delayed gratification is sort of my thing. I’m not planning to go anywhere because only a lunatic would choose to go home over the holidays, so the handful of days I have blocked out will be for dealing with car stuff, sitting around, and going to IKEA.
We have IKEA in Seattle. When I told people in St. Louis that I was moving here, the first thing they said was “Doesn’t it rain all the time?” The second thing they said was “Does it have an IKEA?” You’d think IKEA was Disney World the way people in St. Louis talk about it, and I guess I understand because if I’d never had an IKEA in any of the cities I’d lived in and only been to one on vacation somewhere else, meaning that it was a destination rather than an errand, then possibly yes, it would have reached mythological status in my mind. And I really do hope that St. Louis gets an IKEA someday, even though it’s not really necessary because St. Louis still has dirt cheap rents for relatively large places, so affordable Scandinavian space-saving solutions aren’t that big of a concern.
When I went home last May, a few people asked me if I’d been to the Seattle IKEA yet. The answer was yes, I had, but it wasn’t a destination. Not really. I dragged Graham there for a very specific reason – a large Expedit bookshelf – and walked out with that plus a coffee press plus a duvet cover. And probably some cookies. I can’t resist the Swedish cookies. I made sure to go on a weekday morning when it was less crowded in the store as well as on the highway, because IKEA stores are larger than pretty much any retail outlet ever and have to be located way the hell out in the suburbs where there are more parking lots than houses, and if I have to deal with shopping and traffic in the same day, my fragile brain will break.
But anyway, we went there, got what we needed, and left, and I haven’t been back since. I haven’t really needed to go back since then, although now that we’ve been here for a year and will be in this stupid house for at least nine more months, I think I have to make another trip to get another Expedit (a smaller one this time), some bed stuff, possibly a shallow-but-tall storage option for the bedroom because it is a disaster-of-a-piles-nature in there, some track lights for the kitchen, maybe a few small things to send home for Christmas, and some cookies. Obviously some cookies.
I guess I could go to IKEA on a weekend if I really needed those things now (and I kind of do, because the piles), but there’s a threshold of anxiety and dread I’m dealing with here and going to IKEA on a weekend would certainly demolish it. I can only stand so many people, so many cars, so many screaming kids, fat suburbanites, bickering couples (it really does happen, TV is not lying to you on this one), decimated housewares aisles, and so many IKEA employees who have been harassed to their wits’ ends, their eyes now hollow holes that glare up at me in a kind of drowned panic, stopping short any questions I have about how is there any non-birch finish available anytime this century?
So to everyone in St. Louis who thinks an IKEA would make their life complete: yeah, sure. I guess. I hope you have the chance to find out. Until you go there on a weekend.