Another of my articles from the Irish Examiner’s Feelgood.
I have a confession to make which may surprise you…until yesterday I was an IKEA virgin.
On many occasions I’d muttered, “I must go there someday,” but I never really meant it. However last week, perhaps due to an excess of alcohol swishing through my veins, I heard myself say to my youngest,
When the madness left me a few days later my daughter was only too happy to remind me of my promise.
Family and friends had different reactions when I told them our plans.
“Oh enjoy, it’s fantastic.” said one.
“Good luck,” said another.
“Rather you than me,” said my mother.
While yer man commented, ‘Mind the credit card.’
To give ourselves plenty of time we left for our big adventure early morning. After a lengthy argument with Google Maps we finally entered the car park to be pleasantly surprised that the ‘millions’ my mother forecast had not yet shown up. Giddy with anticipation we wondered where to go first, the showrooms upstairs or shopping downstairs?
The showrooms won. Let me warn you now in case you have yet to venture there, somewhere between the stairs and the showrooms we entered a parallel universe. Time as we knew it stopped as we walked miles kitting out imaginary studies and baby rooms. By the time we came to bedrooms we were getting picky, opening drawers, criticising hanging spaces and ridiculing lighting.
Wandering into ‘Kitchens’ for the third time my stomach protested. Two hours had passed in a moment and it was well past lunch.
We limped into the restaurant only to discover the millions my mum warned us of had arrived and they were all hungry. It would be a test of stamina but taking deep breaths we joined the queue, only to discover no one carries their tray.
“Go get one of those tray trolleys for us, will you?” I asked my daughter.
Unfortunately in the few minutes we’d been queuing the county of Leitrim had joined behind us and they were less than forgiving as my daughter battled through with the tray trolley.
We’d planned a light lunch, but by the time we got to the food we felt we’d earned our dinner and dessert of course.
“Do you know vans come up from Cork weekly to collect shopping from here?” I said.
“Ah, I don’t think we’ll go that mad,” said my daughter.
Having eaten to excess we waddled downstairs into ‘Shopping’, almost drowning in a sea of people. Within minutes I spotted a little white jug for €8. Our shopping had begun. We skipped on picking up cups, plates, gadgets, towels and pictures, all of which we put down again.
“Is there something wrong with us?” I asked my daughter, as another overflowing trolley pushed past.
A lifetime later we found a €12 mirror my daughter fancied. Embarrassed by our hanging hands we decided we’d buy it, if only we knew where they’d hidden them. Following a game of ‘Find the attendant’ we were told they were in self service, aisle twelve.
Suddenly I felt very weary.
“Do you love that mirror?” I asked.
“Not this much,” my daughter replied, noting we were in aisle one.
We walked towards the tills, six deep with laden trolleys. I looked at my little jug, we’d been together for close to two hours.
“Sorry. It’s not you it’s me,” I said abandoning it in aisle three.
Five hours after entering we blinked in sunlight as the words of Martin Luther King came to mind,
“Free at last. Thank God almighty we’re free at last.”