Circles

Sometimes the best adventures in New York are away from the city, a quick respite from the madness to enjoy the surrounding beauty that’s only a Zipcar away. In an effort to stay as far away from the hell known as Santacon as possible, my lovely friend M, her N and I made plans for Saturday to borrow N’s mom’s car for the day and take an adventure, starting the afternoon at the Ikea in Paramus and ending the day in Nyack for a meal at my cousin’s restaurant, 8 North Broadway. I thought that I’d be recapping the weekend by talking about how incredible the meal was (which it was), or how nice it was to spend some time with two of my people (which it was). And while I’ll absolutely remember those moments for a long time, there was another memory made that will probably trump them all: That time we spent nearly an hour lost around Ikea.

Now, when you park a car in any parking garage, and especially one as large as those around Ikeas, one would think between the three of us, someone would have taken a look at the garage markers to remember where we’d parked, thus avoiding any confusion later. But after we’d paid and walked out the door, we realized none of the surrounding scenery looked familiar. “Maybe we parked on a different floor?” said M, even though none of us remembered walking up or down any stairs. We made our way up to the top (no car), the middle (no car) and the ground floor (still no car), walked up and down the rows, walked around the edge of each lot – still no car. This continued for around ten minutes before M and I just looked at each other and started laughing. I mean come on. Here are three college-educated twenty-somethings and we’ve somehow managed to get ourselves stuck in an Ikea in New Jersey. It could have been a panic-inducing situation, imagining the car was stolen or that we’d be stuck in New Jersey forever, but I think we knew that everything was going to be just fine, so we just laughed and kept going.

I’m a person that loves to panic when situations start getting out of hand, letting my thoughts run in circles, overthinking, overanalyzing, overeverything. Especially with everything in the past year, and specifically in the past seven months, I’ve made myself dizzy with thoughts, trying to sort out the idealistic dreamer with the crushing blows of reality, circle up to optimism and loop down to disappointment. Somewhere in the past month or two I finally fell down, exhausted from spinning for so long, and started trying my best to walk in a straight line, saying I needed my life to stay exactly as it was, no distractions, no fireworks, for a long time. It worked for a little while, but life has a tendency to get in the way when you’re that determined, and recently a tiny spark caught my attention and slowly started turning my head. I suppose you can’t avoid spinning like that forever – now it’s just a waiting game to see if I can figure out this dizzy dance, or if I’ll fall down again, alone and confused and dizzier than ever.

After nearly 20 minutes of determined wandering around the Ikea garage, M, N and I finally decided to head to the Ikea entrance and retrace our steps, still in fits of giggles at such a situation. We made it back to the big blue building, and before we could even walk inside to begin retracing, we all looked up at the same time, stopped in our tracks, and started laughing hysterically: turns out, there were two sides to the parking lot, and we’d just spent the whole time looking for the car in the wrong one. Two minutes later we were bundled in the Saab with the heat on and the music blasting, on our way to Nyack for a well-deserved drink. Naturally, the GPS in M’s iPhone had a little hiccup, and I kid you not, we spent a further 20 minutes driving in circles in the unfamiliar routes around Ikea, laughing hard enough for tears to run down our faces, the bare trees surrounding the roads waving to us once we finally got back on track. Maybe in the end the circles aren’t the worst thing that can happen. At this point, I probably know better than anyone that if you get nothing else from being so dizzy all the time, you’ll get a good story at the end of the day.

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