Sometimes I feel like a trip to IKEA is a metaphor for my life. I try to focus on the bigger picture, yet it’s always the small unnecessary shit that gets me.
I start off with good intentions and a set list of goals. I walk in with purpose and determination ready to take the bull by the horns. Yet it only takes one little thing to distract me (usually it’s the candles, because they’re SO cheap) and the next thing I know I’m thrown completely off course and rather than sticking to my plan I’m crying in a corner with cinnamon roll frosting on my face, feeling completely lost in the maze of life. I mean the maze of IKEA. It happens every time.
Why I had to go to this store the other day doesn’t really matter, I mean does a trip to IKEA ever really matter? No. The fact remains I had to go. And I had to go on a day when Chris couldn’t come along because the last time we took a couple trip to this land of Swedish Satan we broke up three times and didn’t talk for almost five days after.
We learned a lot about each other that day. But it’s okay, in the end it made us closer.
Anyway, I found a parking spot that was only two miles away from the entrance so I knew this had to be a good omen. At least I didn’t have to get on a shuttle or ride a donkey to the front like last time. Things were already in my favor.
When I walked inside I told myself not to even look at the living room display that greets you in the entrance. That’s where IKEA likes to hook you, they waste no time. As you glide up the escalator they show you a living room that taunts you with beautiful lamps and throw pillows and a gorgeous coffee table and the beautiful perfect life you could have. The only problem is you have to go find it first. Spoiler alert- none of it exists. It’s all just an illusion and a part of the wild goose hunt you’re about to go on.
Good luck. Things are about to get ugly once you step in that showroom.
I never want, or need to enter the showroom floor and yet somehow I always do. It’s as if the IKEA workers live in the walls and are constantly changing the signs that direct people where to go so we all end up lost. I just need to get a few cheap things and don’t need to see 300 different bedroom layouts in the process. But I do. Because that’s what IKEA wants.
I reluctantly meander past every single layout of living room and office area and kitchen, and even though I know IKEA is incredibly cheap quality, I can’t help but think about how pretty every thing looks! With the different cabinets and shelves and counter tops, it’s all so modern and fun! I could have that kitchen! It’s so efficient and clean looking, and there’s even mini planted pots above the sink! I want mini planed pots in my kitchen. And the kids section! I don’t have children, nor do I particularly like children, but suddenly I have eight rooms and a toy room picked out for my imaginary Duggar clan I probably won’t ever have. But when a kid’s bed looks like a treehouse it would just be silly not to have kids! It’s a treehouse bed for God’s sake.
By the time I crawl out of the design floor my eyes are bloodshot and I no longer have any idea why I’m here. Hell, I don’t even remember my own name at this point. All I know is IKEA.
As if IKEA can sense my weakness it suddenly sends a pain to my stomach and a scent to my nose. A scent of… food. I didn’t think I was hungry, but I notice everyone else who I’ve been walking through the maze with is headed that way so I follow the herd.
I feel like I’m on a cruise ship so I go through the buffet line and order all of the things. In a normal scenario I wouldn’t dare eat meatballs that are only $1. But in IKEA Land it’s normal. Who cares if they’re made from dog or Troll dolls. They’re cute and they have gravy on them. Mac’n cheese for $2? I bet it’s delicious. Salmon for 50 cents? Sounds legit to me. A spring salad that isn’t just free, I’ll actually get money back if I eat it? I’m on board.
When I’m done eating I no longer know who I am. I simply push my cart along side the other mumbling zombies towards another room. I didn’t even realize I had a cart, but when I look down it’s full. In the kitchen supply room I grab every glass jar and decorative plate I can find. I pile them on top of my 13 new bathroom rugs and decorative wall art that says “coffee” with a bird sitting on a skateboard.
It’s not until I enter the home organization section when I have my third breakdown. Or maybe it’s my fourth? Who’s keeping track? There’s just so many drawers and shelves. Some are hanging drawers and some are moving drawers and some are dancing drawers, it just overwhelms me to tears. I want to organize my house! And look at all these options. But where do I start? WHERE? I want to lay down and I think back to a simpler time in the day when I was near my treehouse bed. I miss that old bed.
I’m brought back to life when something bright and sparkly catches my eye. Off in the distance a white illuminating ball of light shines from the sky and I wonder if it’s heaven. Close enough, it’s the lighting section. Beautiful white balls of light are everywhere. Some have flowers shooting from them, some are wavy, and some are just white. They’re all wonderful and I run through them like a child skipping in a meadow. I imagine my house of hanging white balls of light and how peaceful and serene that life must be! I could have one for every room, or maybe two, or three!
For the next four hours or so I’ll spend my time in the lighting section. I’l get emotional when it’s time to leave, but I know something better awaits.
Like cheap candles and vases! And marbles. So many different colored marbles for vases. I want 100 of everything for that candle/marble/vase party I might throw someday. And then there’s fake plants and real plants and ORCHIDS! Oh how I love orchids. And patio furniture and rugs and … the end. I’m almost to the exit.
Reality hits me with a sharp blow to the chest. Oh wait, no that’s just the elderly woman pushing her cart straight into mine, which heaves into my chest. Ouch. Where am I? What just happened? Why am I standing in a line behind 25 other people? And why God why did I forget my damn blue bags again? I buy them literally every time I come here. IKEA will sell meatballs for 10 cents but they can’t have free bags for paying customers?
I hate this place I think with a scowl. I hate everything about it.
My bill is about $350 more than expected. Those damn candles. But I can’t think about that at the moment, right now I need to figure out how long I was in this black hole called IKEA.
When I step outside it’s snowing. And I think I’ve grown a beard. This can’t be good.
As I push my cart with the broken wheel in search of my car that I can’t find, a feeling of regret settles deep inside me as I think about all the time I just wasted and bad decisions I made. Like always, I promise myself I’ll do better next time. I owe it to myself to lead a better life.
And a better life typically starts with a treehouse bed.