Yesterday at work I noticed a small Spiderman lunchbox sitting on a desk in the office and it seemed (and looked) really strange. I knew who the lunch box belonged to because it was on the desk of the 'new person' but instead of my saying out loud, " what the fuck is up with the lunch box? does she have a 7 year old son or what?", I calmly asked if there was a 7 year old little boy running around somewhere- and people looked at me like I was crazy, they didn't get my joke. There's never any 7 year old's running around our work place, the youngest is maybe 17 and they're doing everything except running around. But my question was more of a way for me to understand who the new woman in the building was without being rude. I needed some explanation for that Spiderman box because I'm sorry but you can't be a 27, 37 or 47 year old woman and bring one to work on your first day without an explanation-she seemed sane but you never know...
When adults carry or own (and use) little kid things like that it freaks me out. If it's a joke I kind of get it but still... leave it at home. Don't wear little pink or yellow t-shirts with rainbows or kittens on them and don't wear little colored barrettes in your hair as if you were four. Now don't get me wrong, I'd kill to have my Partridge Family lunch box back in my possession but if I did, you wouldn't find me filling it with my banana, my apple, my turkey sandwich, my oatmeal, or my little bag of chocolate chip cookies and bringing it to work... no way, that box stays home and comes out only to show off how well I took care of it. It would even be different if she happen to have maybe an old school Barbie lunch box or something classic but Spiderman?!
Anyway, from Spiderman the conversation turned into Little Orphan Annie. We were talking about the lunchboxes we had as kids and someone in the group had an Annie one. Now I've come to realize that If there's a woman in any room between the ages of 35 and 41 and the story of "Annie" comes up, nothing else and no other topic is going to take over that subject- at least for the next 10 minutes straight. People don't just seem to 'remember' "Annie"; they live, breath and worship her- and her little dog too. The way they talk about her borders on obsession but it's so strange because it happened so long ago and they talk about it as if they were just on stage with her. I can never figure out if it's Andrea McArdle, the actual story, the orphanage thing or the music that everyone was attracted to but it never fails: first comes the announcement "I loved Little Orphan Annie", then comes the singing "it's a hard knock life...", then more chatter about the sun coming out tomorrow. The infatuation and power around this thing amazes me. Sure, I remember Annie but because she had to have red hair and have the bad luck of being an orphan, and I too had red hair- I guess I chose not to pay too much attention to her. A red headed orphan... do all the odd ball characters have to have red hair? Come on now, Pippie, Annie, Hollie. It sucked for me because I was the only scrappy looking red headed kid on the block and in school and feeling quite special because of it and they had to go and make weird looking characters in the movies and comic strips have red hair just like me. It was rough.
I just realized this post has turned from talking about a grown woman carrying a lunch box to my childhood issues with being a red head. Lunch boxes, Little Orphan Annie, red hair and pigtails, infatuations and being a little kid... I'm not sure what it all means, but I'm glad I was a little red headed kid - even if it's taken me 1/2 my life to realize it.