I’ve spent the last few days doing nothing at my parents’ rented condo in Mountain View, mainly to take a break from all the nothing I was doing at my uncle’s house in Piedmont. (Forty-five percent of me loves spending entire days refreshing the Craigslist rentals page; the sane fifty-five really wishes school would hurry up and start already.) Yesterday’s program of activities included a long swim, dinner at Google, and a pint of ice cream while watching TV. Today’s program included a long walk through a county park, dinner at a sushi restaurant, and a pint of ice cream while watching TV.
(Side note: what is TV coming to these days? My parents and I stumbled upon a program that followed real estate assessors doing their jobs at various houses and provided pre-commercial break dramatic tension with questions like “Will their equity offset their expenses?” We nearly died laughing. And then we actually stuck around through the commercials to find out. I guess I should ask what my family is coming to nowadays.)
(Oh, and their equity didn’t offset their expenses. It so rarely does.)
Before watching TV—okay, full disclosure, maybe it was sometime in between episodes of Really Gross Medical Surgeries on Live TV and Boring Reality Show #784—my parents and I went out to, as they put it, “pre-shop” for their new home in the Boston area. They didn’t want to buy furniture, just to fondle it. So we spent about a half hour in Crate and Barrel, my mom and I still dressed in the T-shirts and sweat pants we had worn on our walk that morning, and entertained ourselves by sitting on the couches and reading the display books, picking up random kitchen equipment—a tiny scale, an adjustable measuring spoon, a $5.95 cake tester—and chucking throw blankets at each other. (Hey, we were just following directions.) We are among this nation’s elite, you know. Take a minute and think about that.
And then we went to Ikea. I haven’t been there since I was a kid, and it was a revelation to me that stores like that exist. I wandered through, wide-eyed and excited by all the cheap bookshelves filled with Swedish-language books and the neat computer desks that transform into cabinets. (Take that, Michael Bay!) I was turning the pages of a translated Stephen Fry book when my parents called to tell me they had already left the store, and then, suddenly, my carefree walk through fantasy living rooms had turned into a kind of cruel endurance maze in a Scandinavian modern style furniture warehouse roughly the size of Rhode Island. I couldn’t find the door I had come in, and the other door was on the floor below, after about a half-mile (I’m not kidding; I timed it) of affordable home accessories, and then upon exiting through that door all I could find was a parking lot exit, which took walking from parking area 2A down to parking area 2V, easily another half-mile, by which point my parents had called three times to laugh at me, and then lost patience and simply driven over to pick me up.
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, or even why I’m telling it, but there are a few salient points that stand out: there are a lot of low-cost utilitarian home products in this world, and also a few high-cost useless ones; time spent watching TV with my parents beats time spent alone teaching myself to program computers to guess the number; I have absolutely no sense of direction, though that should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever driven with me; and I have a lot fewer interesting things to blog about now that I live in the First World. I mean, I could live-blog each refreshing of the Craigslist page, but, hey, watching TV is so much easier. Besides, that way I might actually learn what “equity” means.