Fun with the Inlaws



I’m afraid of dogs. Some of it goes back to when I was a child and dog bit me in the face resulting in quite a few stitches. Some of it goes back to the old saying that animals can sense the bad in people. I feel like every time I meet a new dog it just knows how dark my heart truly is.

Case-in-point, my in-laws were in town recently. My father-in-law loves to go to Half Price Books. I’m sure there is a decent Half Price Books somewhere but the one near us is awful. The location replaced a legendary Milwaukee bookstore that was known nationwide as what an independent bookseller should look and feel like. The Half Priced Books looks like the owner was court mandated to run a bookstore with the only stipulation being that there had to be books and a way to purchase them. The previous bookstore had plush carpet, comfy chairs and even a fireplace. Their staff would greet you at the door but still give you space to browse. Half Price books has stained concrete floors, bookshelves made from wood that looks like it was reclaimed from an abandoned beaver dam and the staff makes old record store clerks look warm and fuzzy. Sorry, I digress. My FIL loves the place. I, clearly, do not. We all decided to go out for lunch and then split up so I could avoid the one place I despise nearly as much as The Dollar Store.

My wife had to run some errands so she left the house a few hours before us. We took my mother-in-law’s car but she asked me to drive. My FIL pushed everyone aside when it was time to go so he could sit in the front seat. It was lightly sprinkling when we left. Before I even had the key in the ignition he barked at me to turn on the windshield wipers. I pulled out of the driveway and started down the road. He pointed at the little stick and explained that it controlled the wipers and I continued down the road until I came to a stop sign. The rain was very light so I was able to see despite the beading water droplets accumulating on the glass. He once again mentioned the wiper controls and I continued through the intersection. Driving through the neighborhood the rain got a little heavier so I tapped the control and cleared the windshield while we continued snaking through the neighborhood. After another minute he informed me that I could turn the wipers on and they would continue running by themselves, to which I tapped the stick clearing the water while nodded my head.

We finally made it out of the neighborhoods and onto the main thoroughfare manually clearing the water when I felt it needed it, which was significantly longer than when he thought I should. When we stopped at the next light I looked at the controls and turned them on intermittent. I did this in one swift movement that looked the same as I had been using to manually clear the windshield. My father-in-law was very irritated at this point. He started telling me, in a rather condescending tone that I could turn on the wipers and they would work ALL BY THEMSELVES. As soon as he said that, as if I had willed it to happen, the wipers cleared the windshield. I gestured dramatically and exclaimed, “Tah Da!” The whole car burst into laughter and applause, my mother-in-law laughing the loudest. He turned beet-red and didn’t make a sound the rest of the trip.

So I’m afraid of dogs. Perhaps, rightfully so.