You don’t see picture menus that often these days and in a digital age where people tweet photos of their lunch or Instagram their favourite beer, we are probably less inclined to think about it. Nevertheless, sometimes I wonder if that’s how people view my Twitter avatar. Do they look at it and recognise that at some point I took pictures of a stuffed toy rat? It’s really cute though, right?
I received the bestest tweet ever the other day from my esteemed kind-hearted twitter-friend and fellow blogger Sinéad O’Hart.
Not only did it warm my heart and make me grin like a plush toy rat, I wondered if it was time we were all introduced. That little plush toy represents a lot of who I am.
His name is Remy, and animated film buffs may recognise him as the rat from Pixar’s Ratatouille. I have such a soft spot for animations. The DVDs I own are pretty much divided into ‘Animated’ and ‘Everything Else’. Some other favourites include Hoodwinked, How To Train Your Dragon, WALL-E, Up! and The Emperor’s New Groove. It’s kind of a double win because Remy also reminds me of the rat from Horrible Histories which (for those unaware) is an historical documentary program that is totally not for children.
As an avid collector of bric-a-brac and oddments, it is not surprising that Remy and I met at a market. I’m not quite sure what I exclaimed at the sight of him, but I plucked him out of a bin where he partied with a whole heap of other toys and instantly adored his beady eyes, manic grin and awry whiskers. Of course, I look at toys and think of Toy Story, and I wonder about their journey. And Remy didn’t seem to have a story. He was immaculate with unhugged-fur and a plush face that told me he’d never been slept upon.
We had an instant bond, but I looked at this toy and I had visions of my husband’s eyebrows disappearing into his hairline. And he’d be right to disapprove. In terms of things that fall into the ‘don’t need’ category, Remy matched every criteria (except perhaps ‘enormity’). And even I thought I should have moved on from collecting toys. I looked to the lady who held the stall and quietly hoped he would be so expensive it would ease the burden of walking away. She smiled. ‘Take it,’ she said, ‘You can have it.’
With flushed cheeks in a flourish of ‘reallys’ and ‘thank yous’, Remy was gifted to me by a stranger.
Remy’s favourite spot is the armchair, unless I have family or friends over and I move him to the bedroom so no-one sits on him. Sometimes I forget and Remy’s story is retold as he’s handed around people trying to mimic his expression. He reminds me of kindness and market-going and the lovely people I have befriended there.
He’s also a symbol of how well my husband knows me. When I took him home his reaction wasn’t what I’d expected. I got a sigh and the ‘all-knowing’ eyebrows that said, ‘yep, I understand’. And when I nominated Remy to be my avatar, it was Hubby who took a hilarious montage of photographs until he got the light and angle just right. Like Remy had taken his own self portrait.
And Remy is happy. And happy is good.