The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth
Photo by Jueun Song / Unsplash

We went to an Ikea in an industrial zone of Badalona yesterday.

Badalona is a small city just north of Barcelona.

Ikea is a place where the joys of home shopping and meatballs combine into one delightful experience.

We had been planning on going to Ikea for a few weeks now, and thought we'd go last week, but our son got sick.

We were worried (and not just about our son getting sick). Would we be able to go to Ikea before the baby comes? we asked each other. Would we be able to taste lingonberry jam before all our time is consumed by an infant (and, of course, our current child who also needs to be cared for)? Or would we be too late?

Yesterday morning came, and there was no baby, so we made the drive, looking out for speed cameras that always seem to catch me. (Seriously, I've gotten a number of tickets and am worried I won't be able to drive soon).

As we drove, I thought about the approach of our second child. One child was a lot of work, how would I do with two? Will I have any free time anymore? Will the baby be ok? Will my wife be ok? I'm nervous and afraid, I thought.

We arrived and parked at the Ikea and went inside. But we couldn't start shopping yet. This is Spain, goddamnit, and we need a snack. We got a salmon wrap, cinnamon bun, and chips. That would do for now.

We started shopping. My wife stopped at the very first product, scented candles. This might be a long trip. I don't know if we'll make it, I thought. Countless couples, families, partners, and friends have entered an Ikea, and left broken, defeated, hating each other.

Not to mention if she goes into labor inside the Ikea. If she gives birth on a mattress or Ikea couch, I thought, would we need to buy it?

We started putting items in the cart. It was soon overflowing. Baskets, duvets, storage containers, kitchen utensils, trains, lamps, lightbulbs.

So many decisions. Which duvet cover for our son, the one with Whales or an Octupus? Which rug, this blue wool rug or that red Persian rug? The small basket lamp or big basket lamp for our dark entryway?

I was lightheaded. I felt faint. I had to sit down. Maybe I was going into labor.

No. More. Decisions.

Soon we were sitting at the cafeteria with heaping portions of meatballs, mashed potatoes, peas, and lingonberry jam on our plates.

I bit into that first delicious meatball covered in gravy and looked across from my wife, who was happily sampling the lingonberry jam with a content smile.

Maybe we will okay, I thought. Maybe everything will be fine.