>you would think that i, ecstatically abuzz with its great imminence, would have been at the grand opening. you would think that i, �ber-obsessive of all things cute, minimalist, and colourful, would have easy completed my collection of shaped silicone icecube trays. you think that i, l�v�r of �ml��ts, would have visited the ikea in stoughton by now.

well, think again, because today was the day.

my labmate pal sajid graciously offered to drive me and my returnable goods (i still had the receipt from my utterly memorable new haven trek back in august 2005) down to 1 IKEA WAY (ikea upon avon sounds much more poetic, doesnt it?). i didnt really have a serious agenda, just to return some things and find some parts for my installation, but i was soon reminded that ikea is meant for serious agenda.

we got there around 11am on a sunday, and already the parking lot was packed. we queued up (with the take-a-number system a bit disorienting, especially for such a hyper-designed space) for a bit over half an hour so i could return my 8′ LACK shelf and a kitchen spice rack organizer thing. everything at ikea could easily be reduced to a thing, like oooh cool, check out this awesome translucent light-up thing! or i just had the most wonderful fruity pastry thing after my meatballs ‘n’ fries. but i digress. after the returning ordeal, i had netted a little IKEA-approved moolah for the rest of the day.

so, upon observation, i can summarize the whole ikea philosophy:

  • seduce customers beyond comprehension with the intoxicating smell of warm cinnamon buns. guaranteed to warm tummies and dissolve inhibition.
  • advertise cheap plastics and cheap metals as, well, really cheap. sit back for the masses to fawn.
  • arrange identical items in long, luscious, literal rows. it’s an unwritten rule that simple mass multiples of any given object are undeniably beautiful.
  • induce cute overload. resistance is futile.

i have to say that one’s vision of ikea is drastically affected by the agenda. before, when my task was to outfit my entire apartment with furniture, ikea was the oasis in the desert, the crema on my espresso, the lingonberry on my cookie. i craved, and ikea delivered. i went all crazy exhausted, yes, but i persisted with the promise of material satisfaction. today, i stepped into the yellow-blue kingdom with no real purpose except to maybe find something resembling a pedestal, a tallish table or a nice-lookin’ BOX. not too difficult. though can you believe they do not sell anything remotely mid-chest height and not a bookshelf? search for bar tables on the website and you get ZERO RESULTS. whaaat? i think something just broke, like the laws of physics.

anyway, it was definite fast-forward (>> for you symbol-reading people) through the showrooms, stopping occasionally to hug a stuffed animal (see #4 above) or render oneself hypnotic by the chair-testing robots. too bad those are not for sale. conveniently, after the whole maze madness, the caf� came into sight as my stomach yearned for fuel (see #1). we queued again, and continued through the cafeteria line. neat little servings of dessert selections are available for your perusal before you even select your entree. i like how the swedes have their priorities in order.

i had the ample-sized shrimp open-face sandwich (pretty tasty except i had to add a little salt + pepper to bring out the hard-boiled eggs a bit, and it was very generous on the mayonnaise), a bowl of garden vegetable soup, and took some bites of sajid’s cinnamon apple crumb cake. it would be a lie to say that i don’t look forward to the food when making the trek to ikea. :) i mean, does anyone really look forward to costco hotdogs or kmart popcorn? i didnt think so. but small plates of smoked salmon and little round orbs of swedish meat just make one feel so delightful inside.

a smattering of what i damage i did in the marketplace:

PROMPT 2 in 1 springform pan and cookie sheet. i’m almost ashamed to say that we have absolutely no bakeware in the apartment among four residents, if you dont count the glass 9″x13″ pyrex casserole (and i dont). i was really pleased to see this springform-cum-bundt cake pan, partly because i was always fascinated with the mechanics of the spring-form which i was deprived growing up, and partly because i grew up with a fancy classic bundt (trademark) pan which held many a warm, sweet, mommy-baked cake. so finding the hybrid mix of the two is like staring down a mobius strip of my cake-baking childhood psyche. deep.

i also got some understated, though fun-to-the-touch, shelf liner; a small, bright, telescoping reading light; and an as-is bookcase (with no shelves) for my installation. hope this all comes together. power drilling will soon come to pass.

in any case, i am a bit wiped out from the experience, and should rest up for tonight. because you know what i’ll be doing? watching matmos tear it up at the mfa, that’s what.


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