Are we there yet?

June 19-25, 2017

By Jay Edwards


Sometime not being around people isn’t so bad, which made me remember a time from a few years ago when Gus, my Cairn terrier and I got in the car very early one cold Saturday morning for a drive. I rolled down the back windows so he could stick his head out, something he loved to do. Wasn’t it Steven Wright who asked, “Why do dogs love sticking their heads out the window of a moving car but hate it when we blow in their face?”


(As I write this there is a lady on a talk show who has written a book called “Bats Sing, Mice Giggle: The Surprising Science of Animals’ Inner Lives.” In it are discoveries like – lizards that do push-ups to impress their mates, spiders that taste with their feet, a decapitated cockroach that can live for two weeks, a certain type of parrotfish that wraps itself in a sort of foul-smelling snot before taking a nap, and ants that play. I planned to get a copy and read it to Gus.)


On the way home we stopped in Kroger and I went to the dried bean aisle with the intention to make some of K-Paul’s red beans and rice, an old favorite. I got everything I needed and remembered Gus, so I slid over to the dog food aisle for some “Little Bites.” I also picked him up a box of Milk Bones, for senior dogs over age seven. That would make his day and would make the bath that I was planning for him a little easier to take.


I got in the self-checkout, computer scanning, non-human line to pay, where things went smoothly until my female computer said, “Please remove the last item from the bagging area.” So I did. But that didn’t satisfy her and my screen froze. The line behind me was growing and the woman behind me, who had Frosted Flakes, bananas and M&Ms, began moving into my space, as if crowding in closer would get me out of her way a little quicker.  


I tried scanning Gus’s Milk Bones, but computer lady would have none of it. Finally, a woman who I assumed was flesh and blood came over and pushed a bunch of numbers on my screen as well as those on something she had that looked like the TV remote control from my den. Then banana lady, who I’d had about enough of, began crowding in closer.


The store, human-lady began giving me a self-checkout lesson, which wasn’t necessary because I use the self-checkout all the time.


“I use this all the time,” I told her. Behind me I heard banana-lady snicker. Then some other people began moving away from my line to other scanners; the ultimate insult. But banana-lady hung tough, not willing to lose her spot on my right hip.


Finally, my lesson over, I swiped my card and pressed the correct places on the screen. I was fast, trying to impress anyone looking that I knew what I was doing. Looking back, I should have been slower, like I am when someone tailgates me and I let up on the accelerator until joggers are passing me. Pretty mature, huh?


I grabbed my bags and heard a woman’s voice mumble, “Finally.” I knew it was the lady who was dying to get home to her empty cereal bowl. But rather than tell her what I thought I walked quickly out the door, to my waiting Cairn, thinking to myself that not being around some people isn’t such a bad thing at all.


Jay Edwards is publisher of the Daily Record. Contact him at