I went to Ikea today for the 3rd time in my life. The first was more than 20 years ago, when I was living in the D.C. area. All I remember about it was that it was a long drive south from Arlington, the parking lot was never-ending, and there was nothing I wanted or needed because I was still living with my parents.
The second time was when we lived in San Diego. At least I think it was Ikea. I have a vague memory of being in another yellow and blue store like that, with a maze-like layout, and my kids were scrambling around me in toddler chaos.
I have nothing against Ikea, but we don't have one in Maine, so I never even think about it. Last week while I was making the long drive out here to desert-land, my son called me, positively giddy, and told me he'd discovered Ikea. He told me he could buy everything he would ever need right in that one store. So I knew an Ikea visit was in my immediate future.
We went there today and it was as cool and as awful as I expected. Oh, the colors! The options! The low prices! The funky names! It was like Sam's Club, but about twice as big, much more crowded, and in Swedish. But... oh, the maze. The throngs of people. The crowded aisles. The options. Yes, the options were both a positive AND a negative. For my OCD son, more than one option is the greatest thing ever, as well as a sure source of incredible stress.
We were in Ikea for two hours and forty-five minutes. TWO HOURS AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES. When we got through the check out, they had a whole new area with hot dogs, pizza, and cinnamon rolls. Yes, we were famished and indulged in all that junk food. We scarfed it down without apologies. In fact, all the tables were full so we sat on our cart. Yes, really. I didn't care. It was like we'd just run a marathon; a marathon that cost us over $300.00.
Then we headed for the door, but couldn't find it. We started meandering down another hallway with our carts full of purchases, and came to a dead end. We turned around and found out the exit was on the other side of the cinnamon rolls. We'd rushed right past it in our hunger frenzy.
My son was right. We got pretty much everything he needed for his new apartment out here. And if we hadn't, he could have just moved into Ikea. I'm not sure anyone would have noticed.
At this rate, my next visit to Ikea should be in about 10 years. I should be fully recovered by then.
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