Thursday, December 8, 2005

Stupid Spatial Reasoning Skills

I've been way too proud of myself for the last week or so because of my recent trip to my favorite cheap-ass furniture store in the world, IKEA. My IKEA history: First time at IKEA, I was like eight and I guess my parents took me cause they couldn't find a babysitter or something. I fell in love with the place, in an "Oh my God, they have a ballpit! Pleeeeeeeease let me play in the ballpit! Can I? Can I? Can I?" sort of way. The answer was, in a word, "stop asking." Even then, my parents believed that funn was a four letter word.

And thus the ballpit waited. IKEA beckoned, sending us a new catalog every year, but by the time I finally went back, I had both a college dorm room and an overdeveloped sense of shame, so no ballpit for me. (There were plenty of people at Columbia, though, who would've cockily dove headfirst into that ballpit, possibly crushing a little kid or two, with no hesitation and no second thoughts.) I caught the IKEA bus one Sunday morning, and I had this vague sense of foreboding because everyone else on the bus had some sort of wheeled luggage carrier with them. I, on the other hand, had an egg and cheese sandwich, but I figured that it's not like whatever I'll buy will have mass and volume. All I gotta do to get my furniture home is violate the laws of physics. I came away with this big old carpet stuffed into a roll, a table in a box about the size of a pizza box and about the weight of a bowling ball, and a hernia.

I've wanted to redecorate my room since, well, my parents decorated it for me. It's too bad that IKEA is in the middle of central New Jersey's famous highway dystopia — a maze of a thousand exits and turnoffs and junctions and not one of them takes you near the IKEA parking lot. It wasn't till I was looking up directions to jury duty and stumbled across the back roads to IKEA. I'll give you the directions: first, you drive through the run down center of Elizabeth, then through the ghetto, stay on that street till it turns into the Road of Abandoned Factories, turn left into the railyard, right onto the highway, left past the outlet mall, and straight into the seaport. IKEA is on your left, at 1000 Ikea Drive (I'm not sure what the other 999 buildings on Ikea Drive are). I think it would've been easy — I leave my house and technically, I've only got to make three turns between home and IKEA &mdsah; but my map was missing half the streets, including Road of Abandoned Factories, the street with the outlet mall, and the seaport road, and thus I was extremely proud of myself when I pulled into the IKEA parking lot, and twice as proud when I made it back home.

I bought this thing called Goliat. It's a chest of drawers that's about two and a half feet tall, and it came in a box that's about five inches tall. You see, when you buy something at IKEA, there's some assembly required. The table I bought back in college wasn't too bad: just four legs that get screwed into a wooden top. The drawers, though, had more pieces than a jigsaw puzzle and the least comprehensible instructions ever:

Someone's really putting those first-grade art classes to good use. Maybe if someone in Sweden could actually draw, I wouldn't have spent an hour trying to take apart a half-completed set of drawers because I couldn't tell the tops of these wooden slabs from the bottom. But after a morning's and afternoon's worth of work, here's the finished product. I call it "The Goliat." Actually, IKEA calls it that. I call it Jimmy.

I figure that now that I've put Jimmy together, I'm an officially licensed carpenter. At least until it falls apart on me.


Mike said...

Nice drawers. Heh. My girlfriend actually wants to go to IKEA for her next date.