It came from Sweden!!!!
Yesterday I had one of the more frightening experiences of my life.
I went to Ikea.
If you've never been, don't go. It's terrifying. First of all, the one that I visited (in East Palo Alto, California), has a garage that makes airport parking garages seem tiny by comparison. Of course the 20-foot high concrete walls don't exactly inspire a sense of cozy - but it's vast. Immense. So big that in spite of the fact that the store was packed, the garage looks empty.
Then you enter the store (if you can figure out where the entrance is, of course). Then the "fake museum experience" truly begins. Pick up a map. Follow the arrows on the floor. Want something from the first floor? Sorry, you have to go through the "hall of soulless rooms" upstairs before you can come back down and visit the "emporium of Nordic wonders." So up we go.
Screaming kids. Smug yuppies who actually want a "house in box" because it saves them from having to be creative. Entire families sprawled in stupification on anti-grammatical furniture. Then the fake "happy home" dioramas of perfect kitchens and cold bedrooms. All with odd Swedish touches like copies of Dashiell Hammett's "The Glass Key," in Swedish on their light ash bookshelves.
Now don't get me wrong. If you're just starting out and can't afford much, the prospect of getting a table for $50 or a $75 bed is nice. But why would you want an entire house, let along an entire room, that looks just like someone else's house or room?
The truly ironic thing is that we never did find what we went there for. We did, however, pick up an office chair, which we'd needed for a while. And I bought two heavy cardboard storage boxes, shoe-box size, for photos and such. Then we get home.
The chair requires no tools or hardware whatsoever. My husband put it together, by himself, in under 5 minutes. The little boxes? They're held together with screws. Of course. I needed a screwdriver and a crescent wrench. I also needed three hands. It took both of us somewhere around 10 minutes to put together the two boxes.
I came away with a new appreciation for antiques, a headache, and a firm determination to never set foot in another Ikea. Ever.
I wonder if there will be an entire generation of Swedish children traumatized by the fact that their names have been assigned to cheap, mass-produced furniture? And is there a heirarchy to it all? Will the other kids pick on you if you're named after a footstool, but not if you've got the name of an entire dining room suite?