This is an unusual time, of that there is no doubt. But, in some respects, life must move forward. I have a son moving out, he’s 20 and going to start college again in the fall as a transfer student. He attended a college two states away for a year, as a 2018 HS graduate. Last year, he took off, coming home to decide what he really wanted to do and was employed nearly full time at a local convenience store that has a reputation for being a great place to work. He will now live on his own in an off-campus apartment where he will attend school. It’s about an hour and a half away. He’s excited and we are excited for him. I’m not sure how many young adults take a full year off of college and then return, but in my opinion, he’s done something that is not all that common and shows resilience!
Naturally, he needs a few things to complete an apartment. A bed, a couch, a kitchen table, etc., etc.. He’s both frugal and conservative in both his needs and desires, so we we decided to go to IKEA in the Twin Cities. When we got there, parking was an issue since we had an enclosed trailer. But, it worked out. While we were scoping out where we could park, we saw that people were lined up in the parking ramp in a queue. Most had on masks and were keeping the approved social distance of 6 feet apart. People were in pleasant moods – anticipatory shopping moods! It was about 10 am by the time we entered the store. The line had moved quickly.
I won’t bore you with the details of our IKEA shopping. If you’ve ever been to IKEA, you know it’s a unique shopping experience to begin with. But, the last few times we had been there, excluding this time, we did not enjoy it. The difference? It was less crowded due to the COVID capacity crowd control parameters. We were able to freely move about and look at things as much or as little as we wanted. Before, we had felt propelled forward by the crowd whether we wanted to go to the next area or not. This was great!
In addition, everyone was pleasant and respected distances. I also did not notice anyone giving those of us that wore masks any kind of judgemental look! We really enjoyed the experience. IKEA also got rid of their paper/pencil recording of the items you wished to purchase. Instead, our family used our phones to record the isle/bin in which we would be able to retrieve the item. It worked well, and we weren’t getting contaminated!
Lastly, the checkout was also queued up. An IKEA employee was directing shoppers to each checkout line. For those who had minimal purchases, he moved them ahead. The line moved quickly and we did not mind waiting at all. It was very pleasant and orderly.
We were done at IKEA by noon and then had to drive to the small city of Menomonie where my son will be living, working, and going to school. Menomonie is named for the Native American tribe, the Menominee, that lived in the region. It means “people that live with the seasons.”
It is a new season, a new start, and a new place in which to continue a young life that holds not only resilience but potential. I will miss my guy who loves to discuss large scale philosophical questions with me over dinner, but I am also excited for him to live on his own in a new season of his life.
Today is Slice of Life Tuesday! Thanks to Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting this forum!