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Monday April 11, 2005 // By Sandy

Something rattan in Denmark

There are an increasingly unsettling number of posts here about expensive furniture. We’re beginning to show up on the first page of Google results for terms that we never imagined we’d be associated with. It may be time to reevaluate our priorities. I fear the day I’m forced to confront Sarah about which she loves more, me or the chaise longue... and she has to stop to think.

But first, one more story. Saturday morning presented itself to us rather unexpectedly this week, and we found ourselves with a day without plans. (Most people cherish these unregimented slivers of their time, these days without schedules, but for me it causes no end of anxiety.) One option was clear: we could venture out of our cozy urban surroundings and trek out to those kingdoms of Asphaltia, the outer suburbs. That’s where they keep the fancy Scandanavian shopping, be it fancy-as-in-expensive (Dania) or fancy-as-in-escalators-for-your-cart (IKEA). We had two important errands to run: find ourselves a nice desk for the office, and buy ourselves lots of little things to make our house run more efficiently. So off to Li’l Scandanavia it was.

We don’t take these trips lightly. Trips to the suburbs—really, we’re talking the outlying soul-suckers like Northbrook and Schaumburg—are emotionally draining for me, for reasons that are too layered and uninteresting to go into here. Suffice it to say that previous trips have caused foundation-rumbling acrimony between Sarah and myself. Now we’re at a point that if we decide to go out there, we have to spend a few minutes locked in a psychotherapeutic-like stare, bouncing back and forth: “Are you sure you’re ready go?” “Yes, I’m sure.” “Really?” “Yes.” “Think about it.” “No, I’m ready.” “You sure?” “I think so.” It’s all so pathetic.

An hour later, we found ourselves at the Danish furniture store. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but I know it wasn’t a building with the architecture of a funeral home and twice the size. It turns out we had nothing to worry about. We found the desk we wanted with relative ease, and the clerk who helped us, Else, was delightful—though mostly for her entertaining disdain for the morons she had to share a payroll with. Eventually, it came down to a tricky choice: do we we wait until July for the style of wood we wanted (cherry), or do we order the style they have in, and get it this weekend. We told Else we’d sleep on it.

The next day we woke up and decided to go with the second-but-quicker choice. Really there wasn’t much of a difference in style, and we wanted it now. So we called Else to tell her. She punched it in. “Oh,” she says, “there’s bad news. Turns out we only have the desk in teak, but not the other parts.” I ask how long we’d have to wait for those parts. “July.”

Suddenly, we’re caught in a nasty little dilemma—we’ve already agonized and decided on the model and style of desk we want, we’ve already locked gazes again and said “let’s do it”—but now we’re going to have to wait until July to get it. We could nix the whole thing and go find something else, but that’s a big hassle and besides, Else was so nice to us and we don’t want to let the nice Danish lady down. So we said okay, let’s get it in cherry, sticking us with a desk-less office for another three months.

And a uneasy sensation that we’ve somehow been guiled by that wicked Danish charm.

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