Zoe and I went to Ikea last weekend to select furnishings for her new room, a pre-designed princess palace of pink and black. In a stroke of genius, we decide to hit Ikea on a Saturday at noon, perhaps because the East Bay isn’t appalling enough. After spending hours driving amongst thousands of late model minivans in the parking lot, we enter the massive structure into what can only be described as an airplane hangar filled with poorly dressed children and negligent parents.
As mom and dad haggled over crappily made Swedish coffee tables, doomed to fall to pieces the second one throws the requisite art book upon it, their numerous spawn ran wild, knocking over CD towers and ripping apart paper lanterns. I believe I saw one little creature pick his nose and delicately place a booger upon a bright yellow futon, silently congratulating himself on camouflaging his sin. It was as if people thought of Ikea as some sort of gratis day care for parents who are desperate to ignore their dreadful children without getting arrested. As I rolled my eyes at an entire family of 6 using one of the staged living rooms as a personal relaxation space, I noticed a handicapped man had been rolled to a corner and fallen asleep. Why not simply crawl into one of the beds if you’re so tired? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see gang members having sex in one of the kitchen units, surrounded by a captive audience of fascinated children, their parents off selecting framed photos of Gerber daisies and highly recognizable international icons.
I found myself reverting to childlike behavior as well, whining to Zoe. “When can we go?” “I hate these people!” “Everything is so tacky!”
Suddenly, I discovered why kids acted this way. Zoe opens her Coach bag, hands me a 20 dollar bill and says, “Go get us cinnamon buns.”
I grab the 20 and run off to the “café”, pushing snot-filled offspring out of my path as I forced my way down the line of thousands, all desperate for a Swedish delicacy such as meatballs, hot dogs, or the highly coveted cinnamon bun.
Finally, out of retail hell and into Rhonda the Honda, we sped off into the Emeryville ghetto. Lost amidst abandoned buildings and desolate train tracks, Zoe finally pipes up and suddenly, as if it’s some original thought she just had, says, “God, the East Bay fucking sucks.”
What? You can’t be serious. What makes you say that? Oh and by the way, I think you just drove over a hobo…