aspects of love

We’re babysitting a dog. An adorable little black-and-tan miniature pinscher that we all wanted to love. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to like small children. Or medium children. Or men. Or sleeping alone. Or sleeping through the night. Or being continent.

However, it sure loves me! Now, I am no stranger to doggy love. Sky, my gorgeous Australian Shepherd, whose pedigree is as long as your arm, gazes at me through his pale blue eyes with all the unjudgemental love in the world. When I go outside to feed the rabbits, he greets me upon my return as if I have been away for many long years. This surpasses that love. Tyson adores me with his whole doggy body. He leaps and wriggles and climbs into my lap and cuddles. He venerates and worships and abases himself. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Still…the barking at the husband, the nipping at the kids…it’s a tough call.

Give me a mazal tov, we have baby bunnies! Five balls of brown and white fur huddle together in the nest box. Bun Bun is the proud father. Pillowcase is the mother. (Yes, you read that correctly. Pillowcase. Raphe named her. No, he is not allowed to name anything else, ever again, not even his own children. Especially his own children.) For the record, there is nothing on this planet cuter than a bunny just large enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Weekends are filled with the kids’ friends, aged 5-14, filing in and out of the kitchen to experience the joys of bunny love.

This is all in high contrast to yesterday, when I was gifted with the opportunity to witness democracy in action in the Hackensack Municipal Court, a drab, comfortless auditorium where the prosecutor makes deals in a windowless office the size of a closet. (By the way, I’ve lived here for 7 years, and I still can’t say “Hackensack” without singing that Billy Joel line–Who needs a house out in Hackensack…is that all you get for your money…) Anyway, if you ever want to feel really fortunate for everything God has given you, go to traffic court and listen to the truly down-and-out fight to stay out of jail. Threaded intermittently between the hours of boredom as you wait for your stupid little failure-to-present-insurance-card-because-you-left-it-on-the-kitchen-table case to be called, you are moved by the precariousness of the lives of people who exist on the narrow borderline between poverty and failure. They’re delinquent on paying fines because they don’t have jobs. They didn’t respond to the summons because they don’t understand English. They thought they could represent themselves, only to find that if they lose, it’s $10,000 and a jail sentence. I came home $190 lighter in the pocket, but much humbler.

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