The sun that shone all week has vanished behind the clouds.
There are no fans or hot dog rolls to be found within a sixty mile
radius. The words, "2 cocktails for £8.50" have been scrawled on an
A-board outside J D Wetherspoon. This can only mean one thing:
August bank holiday.
A bank holiday is a terrifying prospect because it usually heralds
at least one trip to that aircraft hanger of corrugated hell: IKEA.
I've been known to spend my entire bank holiday lost in their
labyrinthine layout, wandering disorientated, and clutching a bag
of coloured tea lights that I've convinced myself we need.
My girlfriend will say, "Let's go to IKEA" in such sweet dulcet
tones, but it's laden with menace. This is where lesbian
relationships go to die. Every one of IKEA's mouth blown vases is
filled with the soul of a lesbian relationship that didn't survive
a difference of opinion over napkins. They can't escape, because
the neck is barely wide enough to hold a single stem, so they're
forced to remain inside quasi-ornaments for eternity.
Why do we do it to ourselves? Why would we leave the quiet street
where we live and the promise of a cold pint, to drive to a retail
park with every other lesbian couple in Britain? Once there we'll
be forced to creep slowly past the one soon-to-be-free parking
space a hundred times, getting ready to nab it when the engine
starts up like a four-wheeled game of musical chairs. Meanwhile the
couple occupying the space are busy loading an entire kitchen into
their MINI Clubman.
If we do survive the journey, and find a parking space, then IKEA
will try to divide us with 'stuff'. Nothing will have you running
for exit faster than seeing the woman you love holding up a
turquoise fish-shaped, ice-cube tray and giving you her "come to
buy" eyes. Few relationships are strong enough to withstand an
onslaught of A) tiny Tupperware nests B) cutlery that has clear
blue handles and bubbles inside it, and C) a big red plastic jug
that might be "fun for summer".
My girlfriend's IKEA storage fetish has become my own nemesis. She
will go to there simply to buy things to put other things in. I
don't get it. Her idea of heaven is pants wrapped inside a hand
woven KOMPLEMENT compartment, inside an underwear drawer, inside a
chest of drawers. It's an enigma. So I know there will come a time
when I will want to end it right there in the home office section
-- usually as we are considering six more transparent boxes with
lids. But then I'll remember and say, "NO. This is what IKEA wants.
They want us to throw away nine years of happy memories on a
polypropylene plastic that will fit under the bed and house our
carpet off-cuts. We can't let them beat us!"
Then I will grab my girlfriend, shake her by shoulders and beseech
her, "For the love of God woman let's just go and get some
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @rubbishles