By Clara Spars
In the hustle and bustle of the everyday experience, many seek comfort and space for recharge in the “tranquil” solace of their bedrooms. Unfortunately, university life and its ever-busy atmosphere can infiltrate this aspect of our existence, too. Dreaded draw results or curveball situations including uncomfortable roommate relationships and rowdy dorm environments — the kinds that exceed the notion of “fun dorm life” and instead dip into “I’ll never be able to sleep or find privacy in this wretched place” — can make for stressful living situations.
While we may not be able to dictate the type or location of this room, we do have control over what to do with the space we are provided with: how to decorate them, how to fill them up or empty them out. What better place for contemplating the configuration of these rooms than in the vast and holy land of ergonomic home furniture that is Ikea?
As it turns out, shopping for the items has proven to be just as stressful. Here is a frame-by-frame portrayal of the thoughts I had while navigating the labyrinth of well-lit wonders for over three hours:
- Wow, it’s so crowded in here today. All I need is a desk light, some pillows, blankets and hangers. I’ll just grab a couple of these big yellow bags, so I can pop in the essentials and skedaddle out of this mess.
- Ooooo, this shelf is so fancy. But I shouldn’t. Where would I put it anyway? Good call. Moving on.
- Oh, but it comes in a smaller size. That could work in my room. Wait, you can condense that shelf into smaller shelves? Incredible! Genius! But no, you’re right, I really don’t need it. There’s already a shelf in my room.
- This stuff is so cool … maybe I should try majoring in product design.
- Should I get one JORDRÖK pillow or two? Or should I play it safe and get one JORDRÖK and one HAMPDÅN?
- Well hello there, acquaintance from my freshman year fall quarter introsem, I’m just gonna do us both a favor and squeeze my little shopping cart down the next aisle while avoiding any semblance of eye contact. Now we can skip a painful interaction where we both realize we can’t remember the other’s name but still bother asking where the other is living this year. Trust me, it’s just better this way.
- Wow, I want all of this stuff. Actually, I need all of it. How have I lived my whole life without a GRUNDTAL sink base in my bathroom?
- Should I go back and get that cool shelf I saw earlier? I can’t even remember where it is.
- Gosh I’m so excited to have a two-room double with one of my best friends. We are going to have so much fun and have so many people over and so much furniture even though the room is a little bit smaller than I had anticipated it being. It’s fine. It’ll all be fine.
- I’m gonna get that shelf.
- Hmm, looks like I’m gonna need a cart for all this stuff. Let me go back to the beginning and grab one.
- Ooooo I didn’t notice this three-piece deal the first time I walked through the toiletry section. Let me stick these bad boys in the cart and keep my eye out for anything else I missed this time around.
- There’s a food court area here? And furniture? And bathrooms? So you’re saying I could live the rest of my lifetime in this place without ever leaving. That’s what you’re getting at.
- I’m so mad I’m not allowed to drill anything into the walls. Otherwise, I’d buy all of this stuff and have unnecessary shelves and hooks and lights hanging from every inch of wall space in sight. I’d live the rest of my days in the Hoarders-like bliss of a well-furnished room.
- Jeez, I’ve been in here for a while, haven’t I?
- None of my texts are going through. How am I going to find the small group of people I came with? Last I saw them was back in the bedding section, so I guess I’ll just try heading back that way.
- Have I been to this section yet? I don’t recognize any of these items. I can’t pronounce their names regardless.
- I like the pillow set that lady has in her cart, but there’s no way I’ll ever find it in the store. Maybe I’ll swipe them from her while she’s looking at the towels.
- It’s getting late, I should probably start making my way to the check out. Oh! Wall hooks are on sale.
- Okay, I’ve really got to get out of here before I spend all my tuition savings. Exit. Exit. Exit.
- How am I not at the end yet? How many times have I gone up escalators?
- Did I just make a big circle? Texts, please send.
- Oh dear god, I’m completely lost and there is no service in this entire warehouse, and I can’t see over the pile of stuff in my shopping cart, and I don’t even know what floor I’m on or what dimension I’m in anymore. Are any of these stacks of sweetly-scented, brightly-colored, buy-one-get-one-free FLÄRDFULL candles even real or are they all just figments of my crazed imagination?
- Oh, there are arrows on the floor. Thank goodness. I’ll just start following these little guys.
- I think I see the exit. My heart rate is through the roof. I’m stomping onward like a rutting moose in the tundra.
- Wait, are you kidding me? This isn’t an exit? It’s a completely new part of the warehouse even larger and more overwhelming than before.
- What do you mean I was supposed to be taking pictures of the tags of all the furniture I wanted so that I could find the right aisle in the self-serve warehouse section? You mean I have to go all the way back to the beginning?
- You know what, forget the shelf. I’ll just check out now.
- This is the longest line I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’m so exhausted. Maybe I should just go home.
- Wait. I don’t need any of this stuff. And I didn’t get my hangers.
Contact Clara Spars at cspars ‘at’ stanford.edu.