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Anelise Chen – Ikea Parking Lot

The IKEA car park is full of vehicles placed in an alternating formation, with signs indicating the

direction of the store


  • Moving food stands
  • Plane trees
  • Encouraging avians
  • Bizarre vegetation

The prevalence of teleworking has rapidly grown in recent years. With the advent of technology, more and more individuals have been able to work remotely, which has become increasingly common.

The ability to do one’s job from a distance has seen a sharp rise in popularity, making it a popular option for employers and employees alike.

In order to avoid plagiarism, one must alter the structure of a text without changing its context or the meaning behind it. It is essential to retain the original markdown formatting.

At the start of the pandemic, I took to pacing in parking lots. After teaching my classes some afternoons, I would just wander off in a sort of trance. I reside on a street near Wooster Square, a little park in New Haven, Connecticut, which people usually use to take their dogs out or jog.

In those days, I wanted to keep away from other people, so I went farther, to places with fewer people. It was like a natural phenomenon. Density sought emptiness; something yearned for nothingness. Ultimately, I ended up in a large IKEA parking lot.

The international housewares store’s parking lot is situated between a web of freeway interchanges (I-95, I-91, the notorious Oak Street Connector), the Metro-North rail yard, a post office, an extensive office building, and a segment of the shoreline of Long Island Sound with rubbish scattered around.

On foggy days the air carries the scent of brine and seaweed; in dry weather, it smells like shiny metal and burnt rubber; and when humid, a sweet chemical fragrance is detectable, perhaps from the oil tanks beyond the harbor.

Usually, taco trucks are parked on Long Wharf Drive, however, when everything was closed, they disappeared along with the construction workers and truckers who used to have their lunch breaks there.

For me, spending a long time in parking lots has always been associated with having to face a crisis, a moment of complete disruption of one’s life. I’m talking about the kind of situations one finds themselves in outside of hospitals, motels, after a break up or a breakdown.

I used to pace around in the parking lot because it felt like the right thing to do when I was stuck in a confined space. It was like a lion or tiger in a zoo enclosure, walking back and forth, up and around, over and over again.

I would follow the lines of the parking lot and the signs that indicated exchanges, returns, entrance and exit.

This circuitous movement and the strange signs gave me a sense of the infinite, and I felt like I was in a place of pure being, performing a ritual of constant rebirth, living many lives at the same time.

My attempts to assign a purpose to the things around me were futile; I was left pondering their significance.

What did it mean to be in a place like IKEA, where one can purchase temporary furniture? Who were the people who visited such places and parked their cars in the lot? It seemed that we were removed from any tangible definition of our own purpose.

What did it mean to be a body in the absence of the normal activities we usually take part in – going to the store, seeing friends, going to school, traveling, and engaging in the routines of life? Our physical form seemed to be defined by restrictions.

As I walked, I spotted some acrobatic brown birds zooming in and out of my way and keeping pace with me.

They seemed to stare back at me occasionally with a look of worry and encouragement, as if they were saying “Go on! You can do it!” I noticed they had black-and-white strips on their chests, almost as if they had on high-contrast bibs. I asked myself, what kind of birds are these?

After some research, I discovered they were killdeer, a type of plover. They inhabit fields, airports, and parking lots near bodies of water. They were not there for me, but instead were going about their regular migration. It was the first time I had ever seen them.

As spring progressed, the landscape around the lot was filled with a variety of colours. On the edges, there were sycamore trees, their bark speckled white, like a spotted horse. I heard a loud screech above me and, after looking up, spotted a red-tailed hawk.

Seagulls were also abundant and I took to learning the different kinds. Without people to feed them, the gulls had to return to their natural ways of foraging for food, mostly clams, mussels, and oysters.

They tested the strength of various surfaces by dropping the shells from a considerable height. Ultimately, the concrete promenade near the Canal Dock Boathouse offered the most satisfactory results, leaving a glittering mosaic of broken shells.

As my lexicon expanded day-by-day, the world around me started to fill up. Something that used to be featureless and without any history or connection was slowly beginning to change, making it difficult to keep moving at the same speed.

I had to pause with every other step since there was so much to observe. My sister had once called my attention to the grape hyacinths that grew out of the crevices, and I thought it was a fitting name for them.

When summertime rolled around, the municipal crews didn’t mow, so weeds were able to grow unchecked. They seemed to multiply before one’s eyes, just like an out-of-control condo development.

The median strip between the road and the sidewalk became a verdant weed city, teeming with life. Pollinators like bees, wasps, and flies flocked to the wildflowers, such as clover, aster, and dandelion.

The tall mugwort, in particular, provided a haven for lady beetles, as each of its leaves was like a private love motel.

On all the nights I couldn’t sleep, I mulled over mugwort: a plant that had been historically linked to magic and healing. Some sources said it helped you discover the truth of a cycle and was referred to as female.

I read late into the night and the demonstrations were still occurring. Taking some leaves, I placed them in a jar rather than dirty my pillow, then I put my head down and closed my eyes. In my vision, I saw a wasteland filled with white lines and boundaries.

But when I opened my eyes, I realized that in the process of shedding old functions, new ones appear with new necessities and forms of life.

Could Be of Interest

It is possible to remove plagiarism by changing the layout of the text without altering the core meaning. This can be achieved by reworking the structure so that the same context is conveyed in a different manner.

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