I have dubbed the trip Grouchy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
Per standard operating procedure I was lured into the midst via deception. “Let’s do brunch,” said my wife. Then, after my tummy was slaked and my attention wandered, suddenly our car was pulling into the gaping maw of Hell.
“What the Hell?” I stammered redundantly.
Yes, it was the IKEA super mega store on steroids. (I think they call them STOROIDS.) Lest there be any doubt: The “holiday season” is upon us.
Cars were flying in every direction. People were running and screaming. Their hair was on fire. Vendors were pumping out hot dogs. A dog barked. A garish clown on stilts juggled live babies. It was the peak hour of the peak day of the week and the peaking holiday season was upon us. And we were now in the epicenter where Swedish style and design meet in the supercollider of Want.
GRUNDTAL! You’re welcome.
Step one of shopping at IKEA is not navigating the labyrinth or even following your nose to the nearest deceptively aromatic meatball. No, before those phases may begin one must find a temporary storage location for one’s Volvo. I’m talking about, of course, the PARKERINGSPLATS.
But then, something unexpected happened. Call it a Hobbit’s journey, if you wish. I call it a Very Guru Christmas. It was time for a new Festivus tradition henceforth to be called the Random Act Of Kindness (To An Asshole).
For some it would be a confusing time.
During our approach my wife actually spied a parking spot. In a million-to-one shot she drove to the parking lot entrance and furiously backtracked. The spot was still there. It was the lot’s Lagrangian point, the one spot that’s the maximum walking distance to the front door. It was a Christmas miracle.
I stepped out of our shiny Volvo, fell to my knees and kissed the asphalty ground.
Now all we had to do was make it to the store. Then the real fun could begin. It was just like that show Out Of The Wild. “Armed With Only Basic Supplies, Two Strangers Must Traverse .7+ Brutal Miles of Uncharted Terrain Back to IKEAN Civilization.”
But obviously, first, we had to wait to cross the street as a car was already bearing down on us. If we were more assertive we could have forced the issue, but we like to be polite, so we waited. After the car whizzed by, we stepped out and began our crossing.
Oops. There came another, this time an urban assault vehicle. It was our turn to go but this car wasn’t having it. I could sense the driver was overcome by the Want. We stepped back and the vehicle crushed the airspace we vacated.
Finally we began the long trek down the aisle of cars. In the distance I could see our goal. The front door beckoned us.
I sensed the urban assault vehicle had returned. It was behind us now, idling in the center of the aisle, waiting for a spot to open up. Ahead the aisle was strangely devoid of activity. No cars. It was a dead calm, but it would make the bergs harder to spot.
Then I noticed it. A fat parking space, just sitting there, and plumb for the taking. Behind us people were maneuvering in a deadly collision derby ballet, yet here was the prize, sitting unclaimed. It was a good one, too. A prime location. It was a plot twist that rivaled the Shakespearean greats.
I stopped. I turned around. I positioned my body just so, like a model on a fashion runway. I stuck out my hip. And then I did it. I waved at the woman who had tried to run us down and pointed to the spot.
She brightened, waved back, and began to roll.
My good deed done, I shrugged and turned back to resume our journey.
My poor wife, however, was confused. “Okay,” she said. “What’s your angle?”
“Whatever do you mean,” I innocently replied.
“How are you fucking her over in your head? What’s getting you off here?” she demanded to know.
“I’m not,” I said. “I was being nice. I guess you could call it my random act of kindness of the day.” I paused and stroked my chin. “Ah. So that’s what this feels like. Interesting. This would make a good science experiment.”
It’s unfathomable to me why, but my wife disbelieved what I was saying. “Yeah, right. You did something nice. You! What’s your game here? I can’t see it. How are you getting your revenge? I know. You wanted to see where she parked, is that it? You’re going to leave her a nasty note or spit on her window?”
That’s when it hit me. I realized I really am a Guru. My commitment to negativity is so great that a sincere act of kindness sends my critics into a tailspin. Suddenly the whole trip was worth it.
I’ll spare you the stories of how we foraged through endless twisty corners of products like silicone weird-shaped ice cube trays. That’ll be a gift for next year. Ho ho ho.