Forget government. Forget religion. Forget buying premade furniture that doesn’t have cute names like Ektorp and Poäng. The only thing we need in this life is IKEA.
I was indoctrinated at a young age. In my salad days my mom and I would take the scenic drive down Highway 77. Past the massive green artery of a waterslide and the palace of American consumerism into the sweet cavernous parking lot of my dear Swedish home furnishing store. Out of the car and onto the escalator we’d ride, up into the great sandalwood smelling warehouse. Then my mom would wave goodbye as I ran off to go get stuck in a big black clog or drown in a one foot deep plastic ball pit. Even in these days before I had taken my first step into the gloriously winding showroom or built my very own Malm, I understood IKEA was a sacred entity.
With age I’ve learned many things: What an economic recession is. How to pronounce gyro. Why we don’t leave cans of soda in cold cars. But the most pivotal knowledge I’ve acquired as I’ve ripened with years has been to love and respect IKEA. What can we do but respect the one who provides us shelter, food, and boundless ecstacy. The blue IKEA construct itself contains everything one could ever desire. If tired, one can take a nap on its many beds and futons. If hungry, one can visit the kitchen and dine like a king on fresh meatballs, green beans, and lingonberry jam. In the expansive warehouse one can lose themself in the miles of affordably priced unassembled parts, and then find themself in a spiritual awakening sort of way, likely around the discount furniture section. Pushing a cart full of personable plushies, lush greenery, and tasteful scented candles, one can enter the checkout aisle and bask in the light that is the wonderful blue and yellow striped uniforms of IKEA employees. Those lovely lovely employees tenderly scan your items, free of capitalist shame since Sweden just feels a little cleaner like that somehow, and then they pass you on to the next step of the Minnesota-goodbye style checkout process. Yes. There is a whole little store where you can buy your own meatballs or Scandinavian chocolate knick-knack, but the cherry on top of the whole furniture experience is the pick and mix candy bar. With the widest variety of gummy textures in the whole Midwest, this cornucopia of confections is IKEA’s final open mouth kiss to bring with as you leave back out into the harsh, seriously small wooden dowel deficient, world.
I’m a devotee to the gospel of IKEA. My ideal outing is a trip to the warehouse. My favorite activity is building a nice white wood bookshelf. I read the IKEA catalog for fun, and my airpod case is a miniature blue IKEA shopping bag. IKEA is my light in the dark. Some nights I lie in bed, questioning why we’re all plowing through this repetitive cat-trap rat-maze we call life, and then I look at the dresser I built last month, and everything just slides into place.
I stand in the miniature holographic paper plastered tunnel in the children’s room section of the showroom. I’m bent directly in half in order to fit in the passageway designed for kids under 3ft tall, and my neck is jerked gazing upward at the rainbow prismatism surrounding my definitely not shorter than 3ft body. I feel as simply content as is Scandinavianly possible. It’s raw. It’s pure. Even if you’re not a disciple of IKEA you can still experience the unfiltered bliss of pretending you live in a home missing half its walls and in need of a plastic sheet to protect the toilet from poops. Or at least smile at the cute shark stuffed animals they sell.
For the smell of fresh cut timber and cheeky Swedish corporate humour, I would enthusiastically leave my life behind to live the IKEA lifestyle of my dreams.