Monday, July 7, 2008


I just got back from work at the summer camps in Big Shaft. I have had a four week reprieve from the classroom, and last night I had some anxiety about returning (or did it have to do with the fact I had written no plans?). I was also freaked out about the commute, between two barely functional bikes, an archaic public transportation system, 33 miles and 1 million cars, and a gas-guzzling SUV, all the options were slim and expensive. The SUV won, because it was only $7 more expensive than the bus and cut the travel time by half (one estimate for the bus was 11h 37m).

Doing Normal Things

I am not sure what was so abnormal about being single, but now that I am married, everything I do with Dutch seems so wonderfully normal. I am not even sure I should use that word because it implies "stale" and "banal." Maybe I am trying to say "correct" in the sense that, um, try this one, "natural." A part of me is sceptical, like perhaps this happy, natural flow of things is just because our relationship is novel and I have never had to buy a table before.

For Example

Our First Dinner

As of yesterday, our subterranean nest had no table, so instead of going to the Fillmore Jazz Festival, we swerved at the last second, and found ourselves at Building ReSource, a recyclery for homesteaders. We didn't find a table, but we found a solid wood, Victorian-era medicine cabinet (our current one is a waterlogged particle-board version, that probably looked lame in 1986). We noticed that all of our fellow patrons were also couples. Do single people just not go there on Sunday afternoons? It was uncanny.

We still didn't have a table, so as we contemplated the great body of water that separated us from IKEA, a wonderful thought entered our heads.


Those Europeans surely understand what its like to have a 100 square foot kitchen that you have to eat in, and they would surely have Swedish meatballs. Like good Americans, we gunned our SUV and hied ourselves, and our 100-item list over the bridge.


IKEA is a dangerous place. The low prices, and casino-flow feng shui are powerful forces. Eventhough I know about their wily plans, it still didn't stop us from throwing every object that screamed "I'll be useful and nice" into the cart. I always feel sort of abused and taken as I hand the plastic card over to the cashier at the very end. I did stick to my most basic and guiding tenet, for which I am proud-- "no particle board." And we did find a little solid table, that is sturdy and fits in the tiny spot.

Back to "Natural"

Throughout this whole process, which, had I done alone, would never have happened, it felt so nice and domestic to do with Dutch. It was even fun. It was even more than fun, it was super fun. Like a really fantastic artistic collaboration. I have done a lot of fun projects with artists in the past, and there can be a wonderful synergy in the process (and the product). I now understand why, when I was single, I never bought furniture. I slept on the same bed my parents bought me when I was 2. I used the same wobbly drafting table they bought me when I was 22. All my bookcases were hand-me-downs. Partly, I avoided furniture because I knew I was going to move eventually, and partly, the prospect of shopping for it alone was completely unnerving. Now I have someone to fill a place up with, and its going to be fun.


The Nikkster said...

You might have considered envisioning yourselves living and dining in some exotic locale like, say... Cambodia, where it's normal and natural to eat on a mat on the floor. Why spend money on a table?

H said...

Tables are highly overrated. Next thing you'll need are chairs! Ikea is just as dangerous when one is single...

Camille said...

We actually did enjoy eating on the floor, but we discovered some Western food served on plates isn't very easy to consume (spaghetti!). We could just get rid of the plates, and keep the bowls. Our table is cute, though.

Dutch said...

I'm sure all the 'lil creepy-crawlies would love us to keep eatin' on the floor. Especially being that I'm particularly unskilled at getting the crumbs from the plate to mi boca

Anonymous said...

I once lived in a place where the four legs of the card table (dining table) had to be put in paper cups full of water so that the creepy-crawlies wouldn't climb up. If that sounds dire, try to imagine the enormous spreading tree I painted on the wall behind that table so it would seem like a picnic. They say it took four coats of paint to cover that painting after we left.

rosa said...

casino-flow feng shui is a very apt description.
I like that our first IKEA experience was in Glasgow, where it was Swedish furniture marketed towards Scottish people. We're talking serious particleboard and shiny fabric. All for 1! pound! only! You could also get the full Scottish breakfast for a pound. Scary! We're talking a big plate of eggssausagetomatobeanshashbrownsfriedtoast and coffee. No wonder people look dour over there. It's the heartburn.....
We'll be in SF on Sat....what about you? MH is looking decidedly beref of Camille and Dutch these days.

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