Date with IKEA
So I moved into this new-for-me place. Actually, it’s a shoebox inside one of those mansard-roofed seventies jobs that I wouldn’t have been caught dead in back when I lived an earlier, cooler life, and insisted on living in old Victorians with wooden floors and high ceilings and atmosphere to spare. But now I don’t give a shit. I just go to work, come home, and need a quiet place to crash and fix my little meals and play some non-stellar guitar. After a couple of years sleeping in strange places, including a year on a massage table two floors above a local dance club, which I’m firmly convinced sits on a darkly haunted block once occupied by an Indian burial ground — and for the first time since before I got together with my ex-wife in 1998 — I have a place I can call my own.
It’s gonna be a while before I’m throwing any dinner parties, however. Gotta get what’s in storage I can use, and then build from there. I’d lost my bed when my marriage went kablooey, and to hell with sleeping in that jinxed thing anyway, so after sleeping on the floor last night, I decided I wanted a bed. Actually, last night I went to IKEA in West Sacramento, but I got overwhelmed pretty quickly and left and went to a Double-A meeting.
This afternoon, after making sure my pal Bobby would be available with his truck (thanks, man), I went into the store. Now, I’m not sure what your position on shopping is; chances are, if you’re one of those hunter-gatherer types, you probably get off on that shit. Me, I panic. About five minutes into walking around upstairs, I had a pretty good mantra going: “I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping I fucking hate shopping.” Damn. I dunno how some people do it. It’s the kind of aggravation that makes me miss being married, or at least having a girlfriend for moral support and stuff.
Anyhoo, after bumping into some toddlers and getting wicked looks from overfed mom and granny, I sucked in my breath and figured out what I wanted. Trouble is, all the product names are in some fucking Scandinavian language, and I forgot my pen and paper, so I tried to memorize the stuff I’d picked. “Let’s see, I’m getting the Ingeborgenfnugen, and what goes with that is the Skůndëhøøndėvœndênslåg, and, fuck, I’ll just grab some goddamn pillows because I’ll be royally fucked if I try to memorize that name, too. I know some people get wood for that Norwegian shit, but why can’t they just name their stuff after guys who used to play for the Giants?
Then I had to go downstairs into the warehouse to find the shit. I made the mistake of getting behind some dried-up schoolteacher type who had to argue with the IKEA guy, who wasn’t quite aces with his English, about garden furniture or the lack of it, and why doesn’t IKEA have any garden furniture like the greeter in the foyer had promised? Meanwhile, I was trying to remember the fucking Danish alphabet soup that would either get me a mattress and platform or, if I fucked up, some godawful home-entertainment wall unit with a built-in armoire and electric wok/fondue combo.
Eventually I got the stuff, paid for it, loaded it into Bobby’s truck, got it home, and then sat down on my bedroom floor for a quick assembly. Uh, wrong. Jeebus farting Chrysler, what a mess. Working from a set of hieroglyphs that looked like something from an old Huckleberry Hound cartoon, I set to work fitting slats into rubber thingees that plugged into the rail thing, and the slats had to be threaded through this nylon cord thing, and some of the slats had to be doubled with these smaller slats first, then threaded through the cord thing, and then both halves of the completed whatchamacallit had to be screwed together, and about midway through my back started spasming and then my whole body started hurting like I’d taken a drunken header off a skateboard into a picnic table of brats who stabbed me with their plastic forks, and, uh, you get the drift.
In the middle of the whole mess, my daughter Ellie called, which was nice catching up with her. She’d had a similar IKEA experience, or at least the assembly nightmare part, recently, so it was kinda fun comparing notes. I guess that, for me, I prefer words to diagrams, but maybe all these companies just got fucking tired of printing instructions in a bunch of different languages, so they settled on really bad cartoons. At least if you’re going to force people to read comics, hire some goddamn illustrators to do them in a way that people can understand them. I know a lot of comics people who could use the work, and if IKEA or whoever doesn’t want to pay money, then maybe they could trade out for swag or something. Ach! My aching back. Sorry about all the cursing.
So now I’m sitting here at the Weatherstone, which is now in my neighborhood, and I’m about done typing, because I’m still sore as hell and I’m crabbing and bitching like a goddamn old person. Gonna go home and turn in early, methinx. Got no internet there yet, so this is the best I can do.
But I had to write something, because I’ve been slacking in that department. Right? —Jackson Griffith