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August 23rd, 2007


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02:48 am - Parents and IKEA
teaotter and amberite have already reported on many of the events of my parent's visit, so it is perhaps my turn. The short form is that my parents are still at least somewhat (if not wholly) clueless of the nature of my and Becca's relationship with Alice, but they like her, and I'm exceedingly happy to leave the nature of our relationship undetermined. Thankfully, they will not be back for at least a year, and given that completely unexpected last-minute events kept them away for the past two years, I'm betting my fairly impressive luck holds out and they won't be back for even longer. From the purely practical side, the visit was a resounding success, they bought us some useful stuff ranging from tools to various odds and ends as IKEA, they are sending us some more L.L. Bean furniture, and my B-day present, a fairly nice prepaid cellphone and 1,000 minutes worth of calling time (good for a year) is now winging it's way to me. My next plan is to ask for a pda-phone for Christmas and swap in the SIM chip – with luck, it will be an HTC Omni, if it's not either vaporware or insanely expensive.

I like my father, I tolerate and occasionally pity my mother, but mostly my parents are a very useful resource and I treat them as such. Working to appear like a person they are able to accept and materially reward is a moderate amount of work, but it is also something I am happy to do, because the rewards are exceedingly well worth the effort. I also do my very best to insure that both Becca and Alice also benefit from their wealth. Visits are stressful – visiting them means both being away from my home and having to play a role, and them visiting here is more so, because I very carefully construct and manage the version of my life that they get to see, and doing so when my actual life can so easily intrude is both somewhat risky (I once again am very thankful for my luck) and more difficult. I am always amused at how easily it is for me to keep track of the rather vast number of differences between the life they get to see and my actual life (which includes the fact that they have absolutely no clue more than 1/3 of the people I know well in Portland are transsexuals, that I am pagan, poly, mildly bi, or considerably poorer than they think I am. I literally never hesitate when they ask about someone whose name and gender changed more than a decade ago (they met Aaron once back when he was Sarah).

Now, my life is back to normal, and I can relax, and for that I am grateful.

On an only slightly related note, as both Becca and Alice mentioned, IKEA is perhaps the most hellish place I've ever had the misfortune to visit. I used to regularly go to the one in LA in the early 1990s, and it was quite pleasant and fun to visit. The downstairs of this IKEA was somewhat similar. However, the vast and winding series of upstairs showrooms was impressive in the degree to which it was stressful and confusing. I have regularly heard from Becca, and to a lesser degree from Aaron, Alice, and lupagreenwolf about how some stores can be confusing and stressful to be in, but have never understood what that really meant, now I do… I also started listening to other people's conversations there and I was clearly far from the only person who found the upstairs confusing and stressful. I have no idea if this store is especially hellish or if people in Sweden are simply immune to such affect, but the result was both horrible and fascinating.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:pompe
Date:August 23rd, 2007 10:33 am (UTC)
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I'm Swedish and I find IKEA hellish.

Of course, one carefully have to choose when one is to visit. Early in the day on say, a Tuesday, before the salaries are out is considerably less hellish. The big IKEA in Stockholm is a nightmare, you run around in the circular tower like a fish in a fish bowl and then you trot half a mile in a giant hangar filled with ghastly poster piles and mysterious kitchenware to be able to pay.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 23rd, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
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That sounds vividly like the IKEA in Portland and makes me wonder if the store was designed according to some non-human aesthetic by entrepreneurially-mind alien species.
[User Picture]
From:kinkyturtle
Date:August 24th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
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The same ones who think that we should all spend every waking moment of our lives staring at adverts, and so they put them in toilet bathrooms and checkout lines and on the yellow stripes in the parking lots?
[User Picture]
From:pompe
Date:August 24th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
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My guess is that the one in Stockholm (well, there are more than one, but the First one in the capital) has been cloned along with meatballs and Billy-bookshelves across Norden and then the globe.

However I was at an IKEA in Hong Kong (the only place one could get decent fruit juice) and it wasn't the same. But it was also considerably smaller - I think smaller IKEAs have a follow-the-line-on-the-floor-design more completely dominant.

I think big IKEAs are designed in order to make any preplanned purchase (after all, doesn't furniture tend to be?) exceedingly likely to lead to lots of unplanned ones. But unlike truly invasive advertising, IKEA does this by some sort of semi-chaotics, trusting people will be lost for a long time and not remember where they are, and stumble over piles of napkins and cheap lamps. It is like a bad dungeon crawl where the players don't know where they are or what they really were supposed to do (kill the Wizard) and instead picks up strange equipment In Case It Might Be Useful Later to do what they have forgot to do.
[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:August 23rd, 2007 10:54 am (UTC)
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I like IKEA - but then I like ambling around it, and don't usually have something to head straight for.
[User Picture]
From:lupagreenwolf
Date:August 23rd, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Ack. Too many people, too much stuff.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 23rd, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
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For me, the people wasn't the problem. However, the arrangement of the upstairs was impressively horrible. Oddly, it had very few of the features of US shopping architecture, which is deliberately designed to confuse and disorient people, but which I'm sufficiently used to that it has little affect on me. This store was designed on completely different principles that I don't completely understand, but which was exceptionally disorienting.
[User Picture]
From:lupagreenwolf
Date:August 23rd, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
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I may have to go check this out. I generally try to avoid huge corporate stores whenever possible since they make me tweak out (grocery shopping sucks), but now I'm intrigued.
[User Picture]
From:geek_dragon
Date:August 23rd, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
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That's sad. my parents know who I am. My mom doesn't accept it, but she tolerates it. I would hate playing a role to them.

And ikea, is oddly draining and mesmerizing. My brother loves it though.
[User Picture]
From:spoonless
Date:August 26th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
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I am always amused at how easily it is for me to keep track of the rather vast number of differences between the life they get to see and my actual life (which includes the fact that they have absolutely no clue more than 1/3 of the people I know well in Portland are transsexuals, that I am pagan, poly, mildly bi, or considerably poorer than they think I am.

Same here. My parents would probably freak if they knew I was poly, very kinky, bi, somewhat genderqueer, and a great lover/advocate of psychedelic drugs. Some day I plan on breaking most of this to them, but hopefully not all at once :) I can't seem to decide whether to use current names or past names when referring to transexual friends that my parents have met. Speaking of which, how is it that 1/3 or your friends are transexual? Do you feel like you attract androgenous personalities? That seems extremely statistically unlikely unless there is some deeper reason. I've found that I am somewhat of a "tranny chaser" myself... but I still haven't met all that many.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:August 26th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)
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Speaking of which, how is it that 1/3 or your friends are transexual? Do you feel like you attract androgenous personalities?

Several reasons:

1) My best friend of 25 years came out as trans 12 years ago (recently wrote a book (with his mom) about his experiences). His partner, Daire came out as trans almost two years ago. So, that's two. Also, Portland is a veritable Mecca for trans people, because services and laws are particularly good. As such, there are lots of trannys in Portland. Also, transsexual in one city often know one another. Shortly after moving here, amberite made friends with a transman here, and he knows several other transsexuals that I've since met and become friends with. Also, I know several from the RPG industry who live in the Pacific Northwest, because every profession in the RPG industry who live in the same part of the US tend to end up meeting. So, that's transsexuals from three separate sources. All of them are also gamer geek SF fans, which is the type of people I hang out with. The only difference is that I hang out with a fair number of transsexual gamer geek SF fans. Ultimately, I think most of it is a mixture of greater opportunity + seeing no reason to not get to know someone or keep hanging out with somewhat, just because they are transsexual.
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From:dreamlibrary
Date:August 26th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
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I like reading about your way of letting your parents take in as much as they actively care to about your life. Shared time and having them visit your home mean a lot and mean it in many ways that words intended to convey honesty can't mean. I'm also moved by what it might be like to have your parents' departure be followed closely by your birthday. And hope you celebrated greatly yesterday. Happy birthday plus one.

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