Saturday began with the words from the Significant Other: ‘I’ve never been to Ikea, so let’s go to Ikea. I feel like doing coupley things.’
I had been to Ikea, but it was four years or so ago and my memory had papered over the psychic traumata. Little did we realise that ‘coupley things’ would mean trying not to beat other people to unconsciousness or death using Ikea’s many, many handy weapon-shaped kitchen/bathroom/bedroom accessories.
It would have been okay – we got the shower curtain, the rail for the kitchen stuff, eventually worked out where the bookshelf I wanted was … but then it came to the fridge. Yes, you can get fridges there, nice Whirlpooly ones and for considerably cheaper than a lot of other places … but you cannot go to the checkout and ask for one.
You have to go back up the stairs and once again run through the maze of screaming children, arguing newly weds, confused grandparents, homicidal women screaming ‘Just choose a fkg cushion pattern!’ and men moving like zombies and moaning ‘But I don’t have an opinion on cushion patterns, I’m not genetically programmed to do so!’
On the second run, we got pretty good at rat-running, picking out the paths between the furnishings and vaulting over sofas, kitchen displays and the occasional pram. I think there may have been Ikea in-store traffic cops whose job it is to stop such wanton disregard for the marked-out path through the store, but luckily they are pretty much all surly teens more concerned with squeezing their zits than enforcing The Law (yes, hear that in the voice of Stallone doing Judge Dredd).
It occurred to me later, when we’d escaped the gravitational pull of the Outpost of Sweden that if you were planning to take over a country, then starting by enslaving a nation’s people to your homewares would be an excellent place to start … and far less messy and time-consuming that executing raids with long ships, and more profitable in the long term because people always need thingies for their bathrooms.
A little while after that when I’d been fed coffee and bacon and eggs, my blood sugar had risen, the towel rail I’d been clutching like a club had been pried from my grip and some degree of rational thought had been restored, I became convinced of it.