I Got What I Wanted, And I Don’t Like It

Right after my last post about clearing the clutter of my mind so I can carry bright, calm, open spaces within me wherever I go, the IKEA catalog arrived on our doorstep. Unbidden but so alluring.

I thought about putting it straight into the recycling bin, but I couldn’t. (Plus, it turns out they have numerous pages depicting methods for storing, sorting, and carrying your recyclables–even a fabric garbage can with straps to wear like a backpack to “keep recyclables secure–all the way to the recycling station.” That’s just what I need to do–buy more stuff to contain the stuff I’m trying to reduce in the first place.)

Looking through the catalog feels like a cool breeze on a sticky-hot day. The tiny kitchens so light and open. The bedroom-diningroom-kitchenettes so cozy and not at all stifling to be cooped up in one room for everything but taking a shower. All spaces have natural light emanating from somewhere.

The catalog creators understand me. They write soothing things like, “There!… All back in its proper home. …Notice the reassuring sense of order and efficiency?” Yes! Reassuring. Order. Efficiency! Ah, cool breeze.

Plus, there are interracial couples depicted in tidy scenes of domesticity, and same-sex couples, and blended families all equally at ease in their neutral-toned lounge wear. This depicts my ideal world of inclusion and diversity, but of course, just as there are no cords, there are no people with blemishes, un-trim bodies, stained teeth, or asymmetrical anything.

But, speaking of cords–I found one! Right there on page 153 in a slate gray bedroom, a white mushroom-shaped lamp has a cord that trails off the bedside table and plugs into an outlet. An outlet and a cord! And, guess what? I don’t like it!!!  My eye goes right to the cord, the only wobbly, un-contained, non-streamlined object in the whole scene. It’s like a mosquito bite on otherwise baby-smooth skin. I can’t help but look at the cord and then the whole scene looses its serenity.

There’s probably a lesson here for me about acceptance, or something. Maybe there’s a clan of rogue IKEA photographers tucking discreet moments of real life into each catalog for people like me to seek for a sense of reality. But I’m too distracted to think further about this. I keep imagining two “Strandmon wing chairs” for our living room; they’re the perfect shade of green. I could drape a soft blanket over the arm, sip dark coffee from a white cup, and gaze out the crystal-clear window.

Alas, budget and prudence require that we keep the third-generation sofa that we’ve used for 15 years already. Plus, the kiddo likes pulling off the balls of pilled upholstery and handing them to me. What would he do with new, spotless, green, wing-backed chairs?


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2 Responses to I Got What I Wanted, And I Don’t Like It

  1. Rose L. says:

    Ha! That catalog also made its way into my mail box! I have never been in an IKEA store (is there one here?) but had heard the whispers about its items. So I curiously thumbed through it. Most of it is not “my style” (though if I really have a style is hard to say) but page 259 on bottom left showed a little wall storage thing that was cute and only $2.99. I could use one in the guest room to hold the light remote. I loved the book shelf on page 299 for $89 but it is about the same size of the oak one I already have and wanted to replace with something smaller. So I guess I will be tossing the catalog as nothing is necessary.
    The organizing still continues to try to evolve here in my place. The decorating also moves along. I debate with myself as to if this will look good hung there, that thing over here, etc. I know I will end up rearranging things at least once; it’s inevitable. But I also make a good stab at it.

  2. Alex Hurst says:

    Haha, your bit about stuff for your stuff reminded me a bit of Carlin’s piece on “stuff.” Quite funny. :’)

    I think I’ve been pretty happy with the mail situation over here in Japan. They don’t mail catalogs over here…. you can pick them up at the convenience stores if you want them, and they’re free, but they never show up in the mailbox. In fact, the only junk mail we ever get is from local restaurants trying to give us coupons. We use them, sometimes, all but the coupon offer $3 off a $35, 9-inch pizza, haha. No thanks!

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