John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.27, 2004, under The Rest

Apologies for no update yesterday – I was probably doing something enormously important.

Today was spent finally divorcing Sian from her foolhardy love for Ikea. In a search to find another bookcase to fill Jon’s lounge with nothing but shelving, we visited the Swedish embassy for furniture, in the hope that they would still at least offer their reasonably-priced reconstituted wood flat-pack shelving joy. They succeeded on all but the first part, now wanting a staggering £55 for a silly bookshelf. This has the two-fold evil of making them ludicrously expensive, and also proving Jonty right when he banged on about how Ikea was ludicrously expensive.

Fortunately the Bargain Corner rescued everyone involved by offering a damaged (I’ve run out of ways to say ‘bookshelf’) for some money less. It only had an exploded corner at the top, which matters none for the rough-style hipster stylings of my ultro-trendy homepad, and so we set to work in standing around looking confused hoping that someone would tell us what to do.

Sian, being the sort with initiative, went to speak to one of the yellow-shirted minions, then quite spectacularly haggled the price down further due to the size of the chip missing, and went off on a quest for mugs, like some sort of mug-needing superhero. The man eventually returned from whatever far off world it is that they change the prices of things (I like to think it’s through the back of an Ikea wardrobe, to a place called Nörnia), and gave me the label.

“There you go,” he said, as I stood next to the assembled bookshelf, strapped to other items of heavy assembled furniture by a buckled blue material. And he made to leave.

“Um,” I began, and looked at the shelf.

“Oh, do you want to take it apart?” He asked, surprised that I might not want to just move into Bargain Corner with all my books that afternoon, presumably sleeping on any damaged beds that might occasionally appear.

“Yes,” I said politely, “but I also need it to not be tied to all the other furniture.”

He appeared surprised again, but began fighting with the crazy Ikea-brand buckle, and eventually won it free. There you go, he said, and made to leave again.

“Um.” He looked surprised. Then at the shelves. Then at me. And then… “Oh! You’ll want some tools.” Yes indeed, it appears that my lack of finger tips in the shape of alan keys has let me down once again.

All this was fine – dippy guy in the shop, all normal. But it was his return with hammer, screwdriver and key that bothered me. You see, because of my inability to ship all my belongings to Ikea and live there, and then my inability to tear the shelving apart with my bare hands, he had presumed me a complete idiot. “This is the alan key. You put it in here, and here, and here, and then you pull…”

“Yes! Yes, thank you.”

“And to get the backboard off, you’ll need to prize the nails out by using the screwdriv…”

“Yes! Thank you for your help. I was intending to knaw it off with my teeth, so I’m glad you brought that up. Should I also take care not to set it on fire, climb to the top of the building and hurl it towards the carpark below?”

It was like the feeling of going to a car mechanic and know you’re being patronised (“When was the last time you decranked your fripponshaft mate?” “My frippenwhowhen?” “Sigh… nevermind.”) but in this case, knowing exactly what I was doing without cause for his furrowed brow.

The last time I went to a mechanic the guy said to me, “What CC is your car?” I said, “I don’t know.” He sighed loudly. “But I’ve got all the documentation for the car here – I’ll have a look.” I said helpfully.

“It won’t be in your car’s documentation,” he groaned at me. And so I meekly hung my head and said, “Oh, sorry.” And was useless to him and all of mankind.

What I now know I should have said was, “If it’s not in the documentation, THEN HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THE INFORMATION?! MY MAGIC PSYCHIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE CC OF ALL CARS IN EXISTENCE?! Was I supposed to immediately research the CC of crappy red Puntos on the day I bought it, in feverish excitement to learn this mystical number, unavailable in the car’s own documents? WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”

I hope Ikea Guy’s car won’t start tomorrow.

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