The place was IKEA.
The time was 2:26 PM.
The mother was in her mid-thirties. Shoulder-length neat auburn hair; big-boned and lean; not much taller than the five foot tall bookcase I was standing next to.
The child was a boy, somewhere between the age of nine years old and needed a trip back to 1966 to hangout with my grandpa and his willow switch.
Did I just say that?
Well, I was in IKEA… The one store on Earth that drives all sanity and happiness from anyone named Dan who dares enter. The one store that gives me copious amounts of anxiety the moment I head up that first escalator and realize I am once again stuck in the awful, endless maze that IKEA is. The one store that could make me, a dad who hates corporal punishment with all his heart, want to go over to someone else’s kid with an IKEA wooden spoon in hand and make the brat’s bum turn bright red.
Why was I in IKEA? I don’t know… I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m moving this weekend. Downsizing in life. Cramming our world into a much smaller home. Why does anyone go to IKEA? Oh, that’s right… not all of us feel comfortable in furniture stores where salespeople wear ties and their entire sales pitch is how I actually can afford what they’re selling… “if you just pay a hundred dollars a month for the rest of your friggin’ life, chump.”
Give me a guy in a yellow polo with long hair, dirty fingernails, and a “whatever you want, dude” attitude any day of the week.
Anyway. I was in IKEA, looking at a bookshelf. And suddenly the most awful, high-pitched SCREAM erupted about twenty feet away. It was not from a two-year old. It was not from a special-needs child from what I can tell (I’ve lived and worked with special needs kids my entire life, including those with ADHD, autism, and other invisible disabilities). It was also not from someone being plundered or murdered or robbed. Those are all situations where I am able to tune-out such things.
No. This scream was from a kid who just wanted a very particular new desk for his bedroom.
Poor little thing. Mom said no, apparently. And that surprises me because the way he was acting, you’d think he had never heard the word no in his life.