Most of the last week of my life has consisted of me putting together furniture.
In the past week, I have put together a bed, a lamp, an end table, a mirror thing with a stand, and a bookshelf1. I have learned a lot about putting together furniture in the past seven days. Primarily that I do not enjoy it.
But my total room makeover project is coming to a close. I am starting to feel awesome about the new digs, and no longer sleeping on the floor on thin mattress like a heroin addict, so that’s good.
I decided to wrap up Project “Make the Corner Bedroom Liveable” with one final grand adventure – a trip to Ikea, the Swedish Walmart, meccca of the under-budgeted home improvement project.
There is no Ikea in Boston. There is, however, one in Stoughton, which is a thirty to sixty minute drive depending on traffic and aptitude of driver. And since I really wanted to go to Ikea, I thought it would be a great idea to grab myself a ZipCar and go. Zip on over, if you will.
Along for the ride was my friend Marx, so named because we discovered we are both white Mormon girls from Utah after she courageously announced her faith in the middle of a presentation on Karl Marx2. Marx agreed to come along and serve as navigator, as long as she got some Swedish meatballs and disassembled furniture out of the trip.
And so, tonight, at 6;00, we picked up our ZipCar, which was named Darold.
At approximately 6:06 pm, while trying to make a nineteen-point turn out of the parking lot against a cement wall, a horrible realization struck me.
Friends, I am a terrible driver.
Miserable. Hopeless. Shocking. Simultaneously sloppy and petrified.
In the six minutes it took me to figure out how to start the car3, I realized I have never driven in any state other than Utah. Never driven in any city other than Salt Lake. Never driven in downtown Salt Lake. I also do not drive on highways, and rarely drive a stretch of road that is not the one between my house and my old high school. I’ve also only ever driven two cars in my entire life. Of the three cars my family owns, I’ve been behind the wheel of one.
Suddenly, this seemed like a terrible idea.
I did not mention any of this to Marx. I hoped this would help her keep a cool head and rational state of mind. Because that would make for at least one of us.
So here I was, driving in a strange city, in the dark, in a car that was not mine, with a license that has not been used since it was renewed4.
It was easily one of the top ten most stressful experiences of my life. There were times I actually had to turn off the heat because I was sweating5.
And yet somehow, by some strange act of the God of ZipCar or Thor6, an hour later, with the neon blue and yellow sign above us glowing like a beacon of hope, we had arrived. And I was only honked at three times7.
And a set of storage boxes and a floor lamp later, I am home. Safe. Alive. And slowly, gradually, unwinding.
- Even though I do not, as the UPS guy asked me, have a “big strong boyfriend to put it together for me.” Feminism FTW.
- This may be the greatest thing that has ever come out of a reading of Das Kapital.
- How I wish I was exaggerating.
- A pink haired picture to boot.
- When we got out of the car, Marx said, “My feet are freezing!” And then I felt bad. Though not as bad as I did later than night, when she said, “Can you drop me off at home so I don’t have to carry my new area rug on two trains to East Cambridge?” And I had to say no, because if I didn’t have her, there is no way I would have gotten Darold the ZipCar back to where he needed to be one time.
- Who is not Swedish, but I think I get points for being Scandinavian.
- And only swore once. I was really controlling myself because Marx is a much better and more sensitive person than I am.