Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lost in IKEA

So, here's the thing about NYC.

It's big. REALLY big. And nobody gives a damn about personal space.

Oh, and it smells...pretty much everywhere.

Can you tell I'm not a fan?

In the middle of this swollen metropolis there is, like a gigantic king on a gigantic (landfill) mountain, IKEA.

It's bigger than most stadiums. Not kidding. HUGE.

We arrived at 10 am on saturday, baby and Aunt Mary in tow. Aunt Mary, who is the shopping queen. A tired, snotty baby...her tired parents, and a woman who can shop even if her leg suddenly feel off. Yup, she'd just toss it in the cart and keep going... err hopping.

When we entered IKEA, I heard angels singing. Or perhaps that was Aunt Mary.

Now I have to admit, I was taken in at first with the baby stuff. ( nightlights, stuffed animals, and bedding, oh my!) Little chairs for 30 dollars. Nightlights for 8. Tables and lamps and beds. I got dizzy. (it didn't help that my lil rugrat was sleeping in the Beco on my front with a VERY loaded diaper- the fumes were oh. ma. gawd.)

Then came the kitchen area. Oy Vey, I coulda died. Knife racks and spice racks, and scrub brushes. Cabinets. Beautiful prints for the wall. All for to die for prices. Excellent.

Then came the office section, the sofa section the....oh god when will it end my feet are killing me section. The my god my child really stinks and is drooling and blowing snot bubbles all over me section. The my feet are fricking killing me where the hell is the damn door outta here section.

Oh and then came the first floor. Yes, you have to go up to go down in IKEA. Oh those funny funny swedes- always the jokers with their tremendous store you can't possibly get out of and the upside down floor plan. Uh huh. Very funny.

Anyway. The first floor...home to textiles, dishes, pots, pans, lamps, crying babies, achy feet, snarky employees...oh, and swedish meatballs. Hell, they have to feed ya if they are going to make you walk 40 DAMN MILES to get to the checkout.

Yeah, yeah I can hear ya. Get to the point, stop whining. Okay, okay.

Here's my point. Why? Why the huge store? Why the need for this blatant consumerism? Why the need for 40 MILES of junk at bargain basement prices?

Sure, it's beautiful. Sure, it's lovely. Sure, I can get a stainless steel spice rack and a faux bearskin rug within feet of each other- but why?

Call me crazy, but all I did while I wandered in this great bastion of bargains is think that just a few feet away, outside the doors, were homeless. Were kids who were hungry. Were a vast sea of forgotten people. And here I am, wandering aisle upon aisle spending money on nothing.

Yeah, I probably think too much. But NYC is a city where you are confronted head on with the vast disparity of people in the world. The have and have nots. The rich and the poor...right there, in your face. There are houses there nobody should live in. There are areas you can't stop your car. There are ghettos and hovels and shelters. Theres also multi million dollar penthouses, women in fur and diamonds worth my house, and so on.

Walking through the Met the next day, I was confronted again with this. Rich and poor, all different ethnicities, 20 different languages...all of these people in one place. A microcasm of humanity. As I passed an obviously wealthy couple I heard the female half say "I don't know what the fuss is, Monet is so overrated." Cut to half an hour later, coming upon an obviously less well to do (maybe homeless?) man staring in wonder at a painting of the Madonna and Christ. Mouth slighty open, eyes a bit glazed, head tilted back. I didn't need to hear his thoughts. He didn't need to speak. It was all written on his face, clear as day. Wonder. Appreciation. Awe.

So is it a given when you are given much, things mean less to you? In a world where anything is possible, where anything can be purchased with the right bank account and a click of your computer mouse, is this where we lose our appreciation for what we have? In a world full of too much "stuff" and distraction, where do we go to clear our minds and think?

Yeah, I've had too much coffee. I know, I am overthinking things. But NYC always brings to the forefront of my mind how far seperated one member of humanity can be from another, just by virtue of birth into circumstance. When we have an abundance, do we forget how it feels to have nothing? Do we appreciate what we DO have?

This has been deep thoughts with Bella. Tune in tomorrow, when hopefully my thoughts will be in a little more order.