ghetto gangsters.

who knew that starting a new life would be so costly? it's no wonder no one ever leaves home unless it's for school or a job. there are all sorts of things we have to buy. consume and consume and it never ends. i could've cut corners, obviously, but i feel like i've already had to do that as a student and then as an americorps volunteer, so why should i have to do that now? in robert deniro's words, "when's it gonna be my turn, huh?" i decided to splurge on a nice, comfortable bed, since i've never had one. i've always slept on "efficient" twin beds, and i've never known what a "nice" bed actually felt like. i decided to go with one from the recycled home company.

recycled home company is this store located in downtown seattle, where they sell a bunch of one-of-a-kind art, vintage furniture, etc. they also have pre-owned beds and new beds. i bought the value rest 500 series bed, which i found through a craigslist ad, retailed at $395 + $45 for delivery. i didn't really want to spend that much on a bed, but i figured it's where i spend one-third of my day, so i may as well get something comfortable. and yes, there's a big difference between the value rest 200 and the value rest 500.

but, guess what? it doesn't end there. no, of course it doesn't. because it'd be too much for an independent retailer to also sell nice sheets and comforters to go with the bed. you have to go to a whole different store for that. thus, on saturday morning, meagan and i headed to ikea for a second time so that she could help me pick out a down comforter, a duvet and some sheets. i had my giant yellow bag full of stuff to purchase - $154.52 worth of crap - and i was all ready to pay for it. i slid my debit card through, and nothing happened. i slid it again, but worried that i would be charged twice for the purchase. again, nothing happened. was all my money gone or what?

at this point, on the self-service machine, i read a note that said customers who use debit save 3% or something like that. i really wanted to run my debit card through. i asked a nearby clerk for assistance. "hi," i said, "can you help me? my debit card isn't going through." "you didn't enter the right pin," she barked, "you'll have to run it through as credit." "but i'd like to save 3% with my debit card." "it's too late," she said, "you've gotta do it as credit." i felt like an animal being forced down the line. i already hated this place, ikea - why was i even here? - and then, to have to deal with this nazi clerk, this ugly little piece of tukwila trash - i was fuming.

as she ate her nasty ikea cinnamon roll, meagan sensed my frustration. "can we go?" i asked, "i really don't want to be here anymore." "sure," she said, "just let me wash my hands." as she got up to find the nearest sink, i looked around at all the cattle, buying the same poor quality, exoticly-named shit. and then i remembered i still had some ounce of power, a little bit of dignity. i told meagan i was going to return the shit i was forced to buy, and that i - we - would never come back here again. "okay," she said, "but that's it. you're on your own now."

i returned my garbage and told the clerk about his fellow clerk's rude service. he apologized and told me to fill out a comment card. i did just that, even though i didn't care if ikea "improved" or not. i highly doubt a giant, worldwide, multi-billion dollar corporation gives two shits about my unhappy comments.

i didn't feel any better that i had to go to target afterward and buy pillows, pillow protectors, and pillow cases - for a grand total of $84. i was fine before i needed all this crap, and now it seemed as though i couldn't possibly function without them. i guess it's payback for always silently judging others who buy compulsively and seemingly to no end. i get it. when you live in a studio apartment by yourself way outside the city, you just want stuff. you want to be surrounded by things, things that wil endlessly entertain you and bring you ephemeral joy. you want things to look nice, the way they do in movies and magazines, because you think these things will make your life more interesting.

but they won't. they're just a damned headache. on an impulse, i bought a dell laptop from this dude off craigslist. i seriously regret it, and now i'm trying to get rid of it on craigslist for a fraction of the cost. but thinking about getting rid of it kept me up all night. i thought of siddhartha, and how he tossed and turned at night, thinking about money - how to acquire it, how to spend it. these few purchases i've made have already ended up owning me. maybe i should've just been a carpenter's apprentice, or even a law student. one year later, i still don't know what i want.

maybe a refurbished flat-screen will do for now.

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