Ikea panic

I went to Ikea, but I was so tired that I shouldn’t have. I ended up buying nothing but food and wasting ages.

Today was looking pretty chilled. I had a reasonably easy morning. A little bit of managing a dear friend who brought the work to me and is an atrocious back seat driver. I know this already but he still surprises me with it. “You need to inflate the tyres,” he says to me. “Oh shit, really?” I respond thinking those kids at Vault have taken the time to let them down after I got everything torqued up beautifully for a heavy load. I feel bad about not noticing. “Yeah mate, don’t you know that?” and I realise he’s talking generally, about vans with heavy loads, not specifically. Bless. I let it slide. If he could drive every vehicle on every road at all times he’d do it – and solve the overpopulation problem at the same time…

The morning was just watching the van while people brought stuff in to load it. That and directing the load. Taking care of the interior carpet and the interior timber frame. Nice and relaxed with occasional lifting.


Then a bit of a drive across town with a full van and Ollie, who I’ve just met. Ollie and I are both relaxed and happy. I’m imagining a great big ground floor scene dock to unload into. He’s imagining just a few lengths of timber in the van. We are taking it to his studio. Both of our imaginations are lulling us into a false sense of security. His studio is down a long narrow corridor, through a door and up a flight of stairs with a corner in it. There’s a shitload of mdf flooring that weighs a ton and is basically useless. There’s some random bits of chipboard with nails and screws sticking into your face. There’s a few big chunks of plasterboard. And there’s the timber. We got it all up there pretty efficiently but both of us felt the job by the end of it. And both of us were wryly aware that it might all come back out to go somewhere else almost immediately – Ollie doesn’t want it in his studio.

In retrospect I was too tired to go to Ikea. But I drive through rush hour and get there before six only to discover that there’s a height restriction on the car park and the van’s too tall.

I eventually find a weird lot near a garage that’s already full of vans, but has space. “Is it ok to park here,” I ask the guy to my right. “No English,” he responds. There’s another guy to my left. “Hey, mate, I’m thinking of going to Ikea but I’m not sure what this area is for. Am I okay to leave the van here?” He looks at me and shrugs with a studied lack of expression. “I’ll likely only be about half an hour…” I realise he doesn’t understand me either but doesn’t trust himself with “No English.” He throws out his cigarette and winds up the window shrugging as his eyes slip off me. There are loads of vans here though. People are sleeping in them.

I take a punt, and I walk across the roundabout to Ikea. Just as I walk in I get a text from the guy who I’ve borrowed the van from. “How’s the van?” He’s in Adelaide, but he’s still sensed that I’ve left the van in some weird van city surrounded by people who literally speak 0 English and won’t try. I haven’t told him about the tagging yet although he’s likely been told by mutual friends who read this. I tell him officially, and he’s understanding. He is more concerned with the interior, which is fine apart from the drapes being moved around a bit. But now I’m worried about leaving it where it is.

I’m in the maze of furniture, taking photographs of things, when I start to feel really panicky and weird. I guess last week and weekend, with rehearsal in the day and shows in the evening, with being whacked in the back of the head by that drunk kid in the tunnel who was trying to knock my costume hat off, with the van getting tagged, with managing audience and with money and with driving and with not knowing what’s next… I think I just hit a wall. So I bought nothing in Ikea but meatballs and a Daim Cake to help ground me. And then I went and sat in the van until I could drive home. And now I’m in the bath.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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