About two years ago, I was standing in the checkout line of one of my students. Jen was a quiet, friendly girl who had no idea that her next sentence was about to change my life in a very profound and meaningful way. Here is what she said to me:
"Oh, Mrs. D., you know, you can pick up any of the bunnies anytime! You don't even have to be buying one. As long as the top is off the little display area, you're free to pick them up and hold any one of them."
Suddenly, it was as if there was a tectonic shift below my feet. Continents collided, oceans spilled their briny and finny contents onto arid sands and arctic shelves alike. The earth held still, no longer rotating upon its axis while black holes swallowed light years' worth of galaxies and celestial bodies of planetary relics. The jet stream halted its flow and not a breath of air moved, not even a whisper of a breeze; majestic eagles and mighty condors gliding on its updraft began to plummet to the ground, saved only by genetic instinct bred of generations. A small child at a church carnival in Boise wept as her scoop of raspberry ripple ice cream fell off its cone and plopped on the hot pavement.
My pen jerked an extra "S" and I wrote "Pet Supplies Pluss" in the Pay to the Order of blank on my check. "What!?" I said, snapping my head up to meet her gaze.
"People do it all the time," she said. "That's why they're in there."
From that moment on, I have been a shameless bunny visitor to my local pet store. I go there simply to pet and hold bunnies. And I don't care who knows it.
Oh, sure, I used to pretend I was there to actually buy a bunny at first. But only if someone came by or seemed to be looking at me. And, yes, I used to actually buy something when I went. I cannot tell you how many separate cans of cat food or cat toys I used to buy. But after a while, I just went there for no other reason than to hold and pet bunnies. The nice thing about our pet store is that it is in the same shopping strip as a Target and a grocery store and a Home Depot. That makes it way easy to simply stop off and grab some bunny time.
Feeling depressed? Go and hold a bunny. Feeling bored? Go and pet some bunnies. Too cold outside to do much of anything? Go hold bunnies. Too far away from payday to feel good about shopping for shoes? Go grab some bunny time. Spring break this year was, as you know, in March. In Northeast Ohio, March is Wintertime. Spring break made me want to slit my wrists. It was cold, dark, depressing, and awful. I basically camped out with the bunnies.
Now, you might be saying, "Nance, why don't you just go ahead and buy a frikking bunny already?" One word: RICK. The husband is not on board with a bunny. He has basically said that until Emily (the blind toothless 18-year old cat) dies, there will be no more pets. (Interesting note: He tried claiming the six outdoor pond fish as pets. I maintain they do not count. Can I get a ruling?)
Jared claims that soon, the pet store people will be "on to" my bunny habit and will put a stop to it. That they'll one day come up to me and say, "Excuse me, ma'am, but you can't just keep coming in here semi-weekly and pick up the bunnies and cuddle them and then leave. In the first place, it's just weird. In the second place, at some point, you should buy one or at least have the intent to buy one. Finally, we are not licensed therapists." After I tell Jared to shut the hell up, I tell him not to worry. For, it is at this point that I plan to play my trump card and this it is: I will tell them that I am a Bunny Whisperer.
Mainly because I believe that this is true. All bunnies love me. Not once has a single bunny struggled or resisted me. They all snuggle up to my neck and chin and relax completely. I speak softly and calmly to them. And when I leave, they all look sorry to see me go.
How does that old song go? "You're no bunny till some bunny loves you...you're no bunny till some bunny cares...."