Ikea. We’ve all been there and if we’re smart, we’ve never been there on Sundays when it’s HELL ON EARTH. Tuesday mornings is my preferred time of week to visit, as I can tend to get in and out in under an hour and a half if I plan it right. My usual ‘route’ is backwards – not for me the following of the red arrows on the floor, despite what all those sandy haired Swedish-looking customers think of me – oh no. I like to hit the kid’s section, and work my way backwards and then hit the market place downstairs, which, for me, is when the fun really starts. I love the image I have in my head of my crazy shopper self – arms flailing as I reach for yet another pack of 12 scented candles to add to the ignored pile in a bag under the sink, or another pot plant that I hope won’t die in the office (and it will).
I scootch through the checkouts, hit the lifts to the car and I’m gone … under normal circumstances. I always ignore the fast food grub at the checkouts (especially since that meat report during the year…shudder), and the samples of cake in the food store (especially since I have common sense and know that everyone has had their lightbulb-buying hands all over them).
But last week, I was running late. I was running late and it was getting to 2pm – waaaay past lunch time. I was overcome with hunger pains and a slight panic that if I got lost on my way back to the office, which I normally do, it could be another hour before I got some grub into me. I don’t do hungry well, never have – I once caused such a shit storm in a hotel in Wexford about my breakfast going M.I.A. that they upgraded me to a suite (granted, I was pregnant at the time and actually, in hindsight, I think that they just felt really sorry for Ass Monkey).
So I did The Unthinkable – I parked myself and my trolley in the queue for the fast food and ordered a hot dog and chips. I mean, the smell of Almost Meat nearly took me over. I consoled my deluded self that at least I was going to wash it down with my bottle of water and not a fizzy drink, as I suffocated the entire roll and meat in tomato ketchup.
I shoved it all into a takeaway bag and made for the car park. The actual inhaling of food that went on when I sat in my seat cannot be underestimated. It was that kind of wolfing down that requires your nostrils to work overtime to help you to breathe, so not only do you look like a pig with ketchup on your cheeks, half-opened salt packets in your hair and disgusting pieces of hot dog skin between your teeth – but you sound like a hog too.
Just as I thought that my dirty little secret was going to stay that way – my carbohydrate-junkie self happened to turn to see a lady and her teenage son sitting in the car next to mine, staring at me with their mouths agog. Snared. Snared stuffing my face with junk food in my car in the Ikea car park. The horrors.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I started to completely cack myself laughing, because all I could think about was this: Will & Grace
(Sorry, Ikea car park neighbors!!) x