Having a nice conversation last evening with a friend of mine, and the topic naturally turned to creative endeavors. I shared with him with my plans to write a book of palindromes, tentatively titled Never Odd or Even which would have the increased difficulty of not only starting/ending each line using a word featuring an umlaut (and, as we’re using diaereses in place of the tittles, the subject will be “surgically-enhanced titties”) but structuring the rhyme scheme around a parametric form (something based loosely on an exponential Diophantine equation), and thus arriving at a sort of hierarchy within the prose (by employing Roth’s theorem to find the consecutive pairs of smooth numbers – in this case, lines that go together – and thus arriving at some use for Størmer’s procedure and Pokemon-ing the fuck out of it by finding them all), and giving the work an entirely different meaning if you read it straight through OR solved said equation. I’ll keep you abreast of my progress, should you be interested. Or happen to have some really strong cough syrup to, you know, kick things off.
Anyway, the topic turned to making furniture, and following a lengthy discussion on the merits of using poplar or oak for the framing, we had both noted that this can become expensive over time, and add a lot of weight if one weren’t too careful in he design phase. Following much discussion, I had suggested a cheaper alternative that would allow for mass production AND neat-o instructions featuring stick figures. “After all,” I postulated, “press board has worked out well for the Swedes.”
Now, several hours following his hanging-up on me, I have yet to find out if the press board tree can even grow stateside. I believe that the fruit of the tree, a small meatball-like orb, can cause a reaction in some woodland fauna, unless of course the soil has been detartrated.
While I mainly go to IKEA for the umlauts and other groovy punctuation, it’s those… how shall we say it? “Other People” that ruin the continental flair and experience.
For your consideration: I find myself in need of a new desk (don’t ask… that story, my friend, will be in the book), and, being on a budget (read as “I draw shit for a living and seriously re-live my vocational missteps every hour on the hour”), well, Scandanavian press board and clinical depression are my decorating themes. Some dudes build cool cars and wear $400 shades. I cry a lot and build my furniture with really small Allen wrenches. But that’s not the (whole) point here. Anyway, fitting some European Shopping Extravaganza into the day requires some planning. Ours went like this:
“Mmm… that was good dinner. Hey, you know that lean-to that I call a desk? The crunching noises from within have grown louder, and my monitor is showing a serious starboard list. I’m about out of room to prop more mailing tubes and boxes under it. I fear for my life, if not my legs.”
“Let’s get you a new desk. By selling your body last weekend, we have almost enough gas money to get there and 2/3 of the way home. Do it three more times, and we can get blueberry waffles next time.”
Off we head, post meal-time to IKEA, getting there about an hour before closing. Enough time to round up the 89 separate, but flat-packed boxes that make up the desk top and leg-like fixtures (no, we didn’t opt for the “In This Combination” serving suggestion, as we don’t have anything nice enough to display on some fancy “shelf”). We’re headed to the check-out in record time. Mind you, I’m enjoying the shit out of the near-empty store, and still managing to get caught behind the slowest walking human being on the planet. It did give me time to check out a lamp that looked eerily like my Grandma’s bathrobe, though.
We arrive at the checkout, and I quickly move to the register with only one customer, completing her purchase. Score!
“Not so fast!!” booms the universe. “…and don’t bother to bend over or remove your pants. I’ll just have my way with you as you are.” The universe and I have a sort of thing like that. I exist, it treats me like its bitch.
For whatever reason, this customer ahead of me has identified an issue, and is making the plans to fix it. By now, the line next to us has grown to a near half-million souls. Or at least eight bodies, three possibly holding souls, one not of their own. But I digress. This customer is now having the cashier contact some department. Now, you’d think that, at damned near 8:30 PM on a Monday night (a Monday night with an eclipse, no less!) that this woman would really have her shit together. I mean, she obviously had a list and some design sense, considering the mish-mash of random shit she threw in her cart, so this question must be of burning importance. I mean, she looked kinda all-together.
While we never did find out what the issue was, we did, however, spend ten minutes watching the situation unfold, and saw not only the inter-departmental phone get used a couple of times, but a cell phone was brought into the endeavor, and at one point, a slide rule. You could hear, literally, the cashier’s soul breaking into a thousand splinters of sorrow. Ironically, that is my family crest: A thousand broken splinters of sorrow on a field of blue tears.
Now… the point here is that in any normal place of business, someone would have said “Hey! What say you step on over to the Customer Service Desk (“Boopinscorpin Skeepinskoobin” for those of you who speak Swedelandish), and have them try to figure out just what in the fuck it is that you’re making so complicated. I mean, after all, look around. This place ain’t exactly the Engineering Lab at MIT. Our motto here is, um… something in Swedish or Danish or some shit, but I’m betting it has to do with shutting the fuck up and going over to Customer Service so that this line can get a move on. Thanks, and try the meatballs! Oh, wait, you can’t, because you took so long with whatever the fuck the problem was, and now the restaurant is closed! You’ve ruined it for everyone. Tell your cats we said hello.”
Suffice to say, dejected customer lady scowls off, and we manage to check out with only the issue of me having to move the pushy broad behind me back enough to actually scribble something illegible on the credit card thingie (“Kredishmoopoo Florgin”, again, for those of you speaking the language of the muppet chef), and complete said transaction in less than three minutes.
In conclusion (or, as the foreign would say, “Fin”), we managed to traverse the Valley, find our purchase and make it to the register in record time, only to be right back in our rightful place on the moebius strip. Right behind Jane Q. Slowwalker and her confused friend Ingrid. Moral of the story: Adopt some Zen into your workplace, and do without the fucking desk.