IKEA wouldn’t want to BEYA
On Saturday, November 9, 2013, I visited an IKEA.
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.
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Jane’s RAOK birthday present
Don’t blame me. Jane started it! Neener, neener!
It seems she didn’t want a birthday present. Oh no! That would have been too easy.
Instead she went and challenged a bunch of folks to commit (that seems like a good word) so-called random acts of kindness. Also known as RAOK.
She even had the sheer audacity to include me. Never challenge a Guru!
Of course, this was some time ago. Way back in December. And I’ve been struggling with it ever since.
How does one do this? Random? I’m fairly okay with that. But kindness? What is this strange word?
I didn’t want to do the stereotypical drive-thru thing. “I’ll pay for the quadruple-bypass-burger for the car behind me.” No, that didn’t feel right.
This had to be big. Monumental. Maybe even something I’d never done before.
I’d almost completely given up. It had dropped out of my mind with nary a second thought. And then …
Last Friday night I found myself on a road trip with the wife. Literally in the middle of nowhere we pulled over at a secluded lodge for some dinner. It was a little after 7pm. We asked if it was too late to eat and were shown to a nice spot in a completely empty dining room. Ah, one of my favorite things. We had the place to ourselves.
We had a nice dinner, albeit overpriced no doubt due to the secluded location.
During the meal I heard a din from the bar. It seems there was a conversation with a decidedly negative tone regarding dogs. (I prefer cats.) It caught my attention.
I leaned in to my wife and whispered, “Hey. I just had an idea. You hear what they’re saying about dogs?” She nodded. “I’m going to buy the whole bar a round of drinks! At last, Jane will get her birthday present.”
When the waitress came round again, we told her no, we didn’t need any dessert, but there was one more thing. “I want to buy a round for everyone in the bar.” She took a little convincing but she finally did it.
We could hear the response from the bar. It was time to get the hell out of Dodge before something happened like drunken gratitude. I made a dash to escape but the waitress caught me.
Pulling me by my ear, my wife and I were kidnapped to the bar and forced to … shudder … mingle! I know! The Guru never mingles. Ever.
Long story short, we got to meet some people, including the married couple who owned the lodge, and, dare I say it? I actually had a good time. In a bit of good karma, we also picked up safety tips on the drive ahead. It seems a log had fallen on the curvy road and sent a truck driver to the hospital. We were extra cautious when we got back on the road.
So I sincerely hope that Jane likes this humble little present. I even picked up a story in the bargain. Now I can regale uninterested people with the tale of how I bought a round of drinks for an entire bar of strangers. And lived through it.