An Ikea just outside Oslo is dubbing itself the ``IKEA Hostel'' and inviting customers to a free overnight stays. They're to be set up to sleep in the mattress showroom and in ``private'' bedrooms that include a ``bridal suite''. It comes complete with a bellboy, and guests are being given bathrobe and slippers, towel, toothbrush, sleeping mask, and a scrambled egg breakfast in the cafeteria in the morning. They've received over 1200 applications for about 150 slots. All this I learn from Reuters since I've never been to Oslo and haven't gone casually checking out an Ikea for any action since I gave up on trying to buy enough bookshelves for my needs in Singapore.
I don't find it that amazing people might want to sleep in an Ikea; I think everyone still in touch with their childhood has the occasional fantasy of going to bed in a furniture display. (Tired people do too.) I'm a little surprised Ikea went along with it, but I suppose this is just part of that Swedish/Norwegian sense of whimsy we're so familiar with. Captivating me is one quote from the article, from a Christina Storsve who was waiting for the store to close: ``We've come here a lot and bought our sofa here -- you can buy cheap stuff that works, and we think this is funny.'' I have the feeling the antecedent to ``this'' is not in the quoted sentence. More weird is this little bit about what to do while waiting overnight: ``Mellow live music wafted across the showroom and a late-night snack was set out for overnight guests. Some slipped under the covers to listen to a bedtime story about a little girl trapped in an Ikea store overnight.'' That Swedish/Norwegian whimsy can really sneak up on you.
As an unrelated piece I discovered that Pope John Paul II preferred, on holidays, to find well-forested mountain regions, take off his papal regalia, put on hiking boots, and head off to climb whatever mountains and wade through whatever streams he could find. This he found energizing, even the areas he first hiked when he was near 70, and leaving his security detail breathless. (I believe that's meant to indicate they couldn't keep up with him.) This is considerably against the mental image I had of him, which is admittedly based on a lot of those formal state pictures where he was set in the middle of vast spectacle to be admired rather than doing something.
Trivia: English King Henry VIII gave a gold watch to wife Catherine Howard in 1540 as a wedding present. Source: Time's Pendulum: The Quest to Capture Time -- From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, Jo Ellen Barnett.
Currently Reading: The Ancient Engineers, L Sprague de Camp.