For my wife's birthday last weekend, we went to Atlanta. It's not our favorite town, but it's got places to shop that we don't. Like IKEA
. And the Lennox Square Mall, which is hidden in a tear in space-time between some toll road and The Container Store (it was right here, I swear). We shopped, we stayed in a hotel, we saw a fecking brilliant show. And we did it. IT. Ill-freaky-na-na. In a hotel.
We had only been to IKEA once before, though we had lusted after it from afar on the internet and in ReadyMade
. The first time we went, we went just because we felt we should, you know. Because it was there, and we were within a four hour drive of it. I actually had the thought that I didn't want this to be like the Rock and Roll or NFL halls of fame, both of which are within 45 minutes of my hometown, though I've never seen the innards of either. No, IKEA is an icon of an aspect of my personal culture that, unlike professional football or rock and roll, cannot be ignored: cheap furniture.
The first time we went, it was fun. A field trip. Ooh, look how huge the place is. Oh, they have a nice little cafeteria. Wow, lots of cheap stuff. Everything is so wonderful. Look, I just shit a rainbow-covered pony.
The second time, the time of which we must now speak - nicht so gut.
Having rented a massive car for hauling our inevitable newly-acquired shit, we set out - rosy-cheeked and drunk with the heady prospect of dragging a metric ton (tonne?) of unassembled entertainment center out of some Swede's big blue-and-yellow warehouse. No, that isn't a euphemism. We knew how wonderful and enlightening IKEA could be. We wanted to be there again, but this time with money
. Oh, how foolish we were.
There is a kind of purchasing fever that overtakes you when you're in IKEA. The alluring, cleverly designed (ooh, look this table folds up into a paperweight) and entirely unrealistic mock-ups of living spaces they have throughout the store. Living in 327 square feet. Living in 493 square feet. Clean lines, cubbies for everything, coatracks that morph into sewing machines, homes built in total defiance of the laws of physics. But no one I know could live in them. There is no room to, you know...be a slob. Where are the couches whose cushions are actually just bags of dirty laundry that I rotate out only when I scrape together enough cash for a bottle of detergent?
Wow, that's brilliant.
Of course, we also got what we wanted. An entertainment center of damn-near NASA proportions. You know, because we have a DVD player AND TiVo, which take up tons of space. There is a lot of sad empty shelf space on it now. We put all of our DVDs on it. Wireless router and cable modem. Our dozen or so remaining VHS cassettes. Um...phone books. A computer. There is so much damn space left on this piece that I'm thinking about leasing it out. Seriously. You have any shit you can't find a place for in your apartment? I've two whole freaking drawers
that I haven't even touched. Although, I am thinking about keeping the dog in one.
But we're back. We bought so much stuff last time that we had to leave two chairs at my friend's house in Atlanta, which I am picking up tomorrow. And I'm already starting to get IKEA shakes. I don't know how I'm going to make it, being that close again, but with no money this time.
Maybe I could pawn some stuff.