I am an idiot. I have started off a whole lot of posts that way. But, if you’ve been keeping tabs on me, I think you’ll agree. If not, feel free to laugh at my expense:
I have stabbed myself in the back of my neck with a toothpick. In my sleep.
I have electrocuted myself after shaving.
I have locked myself out of the laundry room, and consequently my apartment, during one of the coldest Swedish winters in recent memory. As I said, I am an idiot.
But the fun thing about idiocy is that it translates well into all languages, and follows you to all countries. And by you, I mean me.
It also turns out that idiocy is an inherited trait.
I just made my move from the comforts of mountains, Colorado, and family, to a flatness that can best be described as Midwestian. I drove past enough corn and soy beans to make me hate vegetarians. I saw asphalt blend into horizon blend into nothingness. But I made it. And I even dragged my old man out with me. This alone does not make him an idiot. It is questionable behavior subjecting oneself to 14 hours of driving through middle America but it is not idiocy in its purest form.
Idiocy in its purest form is arriving at my destination in the great state of Wisconsin, unloading a very packed Saab (obviously), and promptly getting back into the car. Who doesn’t want to drive a bit more after having spent several hours cursing vegetables? Idiocy is knowing that the subsequent drive will result in at least three, possibly four, more hours of mileage. Idiocy is driving to IKEA.
After having moved away from Sweden, I clearly need to surround myself with more Swedishness. And so, my life has now been furnished by IKEA. This probably says more about my fear of change (I am a Republican after all) than it does my idiocy. Depending on your political ideas I suppose that is debatable. But I digress.
It wasn’t until we arrived at IKEA that the idiocy really shone through. The whole point was to get me a bed. I was bedless and darkness was fast approaching. While I enjoy camping, I do not enjoy sleeping on a floor indoors. I’m spoiled like that.
We wandered around, picking up a few necessities along the way. Then we arrived at the beds. I hate buying beds. Mostly because I usually hate lying in beds. They hurt my back. And when testing a bed, I can never lie there long enough to see if it will hurt my back. It is essentially a crap shoot. Or a shit show. Either way there is some sort of scatological description involved.
My dad and I started looking at beds. It was a build-your-own bed buffet. And it was exhausting. That may have had something to do with the driving. And the unpacking. And the more driving. But the different variations were overwhelming to say the least. After about an hour of trying to decipher the code that is IKEA beds, we had a mattress and bed base. The bed base even came with a bed frame. We were ready to go. Which was good because the store kept announcing to us that it was closing in half an hour. Fifteen minutes. Ten minutes.
We made our way downstairs to pick up the pieces of the bed. And that’s when the idiocy came to fruition. We found the mattress. We found the bed base. We did not find the bed frame. It turns out that the bed base did not actually include the bed frame. Which was unfortunate because the store had just announced that it was closing in five minutes. A quick scramble ensued involving an IKEA employee, frantic questions about the lack of bed frame, an explanation that the bed base did not come with the bed frame. His words said “sorry,” his eyes said “idiots.”
Luckily, IKEA is almost idiot-proof. There was a large bed frame on the end of the aisle. An endcap display if you will. And it was the right size. And it was relatively cheap. And so we grabbed it. And ran. The store had long ago announced that it was closed.
So my father and I went to the cashier. I stood in line. My father ran to the food section and bought four 50 cent hotdogs. They were delicious.
Several hours later than expected, we headed out. We called my mom. You know, to report on what we had done. You know when you do something stupid and your parents aren’t really mad, just disappointed? My mom wasn’t mad, she was just disappointed. As I explained our predicament, and the money spent, she just sighed. Finally, “that’s why you don’t buy a bed from IKEA.” It was reminiscent of the time my dad and I bought bananas at the grocery store for a price which we thought was spectacular. It was not. We were chided for our inability to buy bananas, much like we were chided for our inability to buy a bed.
But a couple of days later, the bed is put together, everything fits in my room, and my back isn’t sore. Well, not too sore at least.
Welcome to Swedish-America. And my transatlantic idiocy.
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