As usual, it made me philosophical. So many of us have gotten in such a big hurry. Remember when you used to get an ice cream cone and sit for a little while, savoring the cold, delicious creaminess of the ice cream and the satisfying crunch of the cone? Or stretching out the cheese on a slice of pizza by pulling the slice as far from your mouth as possible until it snapped? Savoring a burger, fries, and a cola? Now everyone seems to eat these things while traveling in their cars. I still remember my shock when I went to visit my sister in Canton, Ohio and the two of us took an overnight shopping trip to Reading, Pennsylvania. Just before we headed home, we stopped to get bowls of ice cream. I expected that we'd sit and enjoy our luscious treat, but we got right on the road, Margit steering down the highway with her knees while using one hand to hold the bowl and the other to use the spoon. It was my first exposure to frightening driver multitasking. Obviously we survived the trip, but I'm fairly certain that if anyone checked my blood pressure that day, they'd have been convinced I needed a higher dose of medication.
When we finished the thirty-odd-mile drive to IKEA, we decided to start off by having some lunch. There was a flurry of activity as fellow shoppers rushed to grab some food and eat it as quickly as possible. We savored our Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, cream sauce, and lingonberries. Allow me to pause for a moment and say that today I discovered that I love lingonberries. I could eat them four times a day, ten days a week. Yes, I know there aren't ten days in a week! I'm just making a point that right now, I think I could happily eat lingonberries all day long. We brought a jar of preserves home, and I look forward to enjoying them. I can think of several things I could eat them with, but all I really need to eat them with is a spoon!
After we spent a couple of hours wandering through the store finding things to treat ourselves with, thanks to our gift card, we were worn out and eager to head home. I told Trent that I knew I must have told him to watch out while we were shopping about fifty times, but that it wasn't because he wasn't paying attention to where he was going or what he was doing. It was quite the opposite. It seemed that everywhere we went, people just stepped right in the path of our cart without ever looking to see where they were going, or anyone else, for that matter. I was starting to think maybe it was just me. I have problems sometimes (okay, a lot of times any more) being in the midst of swarms of people. But I found out that it wasn't just me. Trent was having problems as well.
When we were checking out, I noticed that there were some boxes of glassware and other items set aside at the end of the counter. A lady rushed up with her cart, relieved that the things she accidentally left behind were still there waiting for her. "I have to get out of here," she said. "This place is driving me crazy." I chatted with her for a moment, telling her that I was feeling the same way. We were both glad, I'm sure, to find out that it wasn't just our opinion, things really were chaotic there.
After dealing with a lot of traffic, we were finally home. In spite of the crowds, we had really enjoyed our visit to a store that we don't get to very often, and it was a delight to be able to toss things into our cart, knowing that we had a gift card to spend. We came home with all sorts of things that we are going to enjoy, from the lingonberry preserves to frozen Swedish meatballs. I finally have a stainless steel bowl in my kitchen, something I've wanted for years but never gotten. We have food containers, placemats, and lap desks, one of which is currently on my lap top, under my laptop. (Sorry, sometimes I just