When I was a kid, my babysitter called me Rita Right Eye.
I was born with eye issues. Ever since I could see the light of day, I wore glasses. No joke, I wore glasses from the time I was 18 months old until I was about 13.
I had a lazy eye. And for a few years when I was in elementary school I wore an eye patch. While it made for a fun time at Halloween parties the other 364 days out of the year were a different story. In the 4th grade, when we were figuring out if boys had cooties or not, and other girls were in training to be the next Regina George (we all remember Mean Girls, right?), being the girl with the eye patch was just…not…cool.
My mom tried to make it fun. She bought me glasses of all different colors. Green, blue, hot pink. I even had multi-colored glasses.
When it came time to get the dreaded patch my mom got me the rainbow patch, the star patch, and even the unicorn patch. And while I appreciated her efforts, no patch would ever prevent the emotional damage or the amounts of money I would spend on therapy years later. At least now, I can laugh about this whole thing, and hopefully make you laugh.
My babysitter, let’s call him BB, and he was a guy. I know to some of you a male babysitter might be weird, but we knew the family well. His family is wonderful. Anyway he and I lived a street a part in the same neighborhood. We carpooled until he was old enough to drive me to school. So BB and I would play “diner” after school. Since I was a theater geek and aspired to be an actress one day (look at me now) when we played, I would usually come up with the “production”. I guess there was some foreshadowing going on there.
So BB at the diner called me Rita the waitress every time he came in to “dine” at my basement playhouse diner. In Georgia, most houses have basements where many kids reenact the greatest sword fights ever fought or the best performance of somewhere over the rainbow. I chose to be in a diner. I guess I like the simple things? I hated when BB would shout out ‘Rita right eye’ as I rolled my cool rolling backpack around the school grounds with my friends with their regular backpacks. I wore the patch on my right eye- hence “Rita right eye”. See how creative he was?
”Hey Rita, why don’t you roll that backpack out to Hollywood!” BB would shout! Rita right eye was not going to work in Hollywood.
I needed a better stage name than Rita. Rita was old, lame and it definitely was NOT going to get me to stardom (no offense, Rita Heyworth, you were super hot in your day). Neither was the patch. I needed to remedy my situation. If my eyes weren’t going to fix themselves, I would get lasik. If that didn’t work, I’d track down a fucking witch to fix me with black magic. Whatever it took. I had goals. I had a plan.
Fortunately, eventually, I stopped having to wear the patch. I transitioned from glasses and braces, to just braces. It was a rough few years.
My peak years were in college, I swear. And then I think I’m peaking now too, but who can say? I’m floundering at flirting, so there’s that. Anyway, I left the 90’s and all the emotional scaring behind… so I thought. It wasn’t until a tinder date in 2015 that the memories of Rita would get thrown right back in my face.
The guy was 22. Y’all can’t be surprised at this. [Fabio was 21. I’m screwing a lot of young ones…it’s a pattern] I was 28 at the time. It was my phase ok? He was a security guard. He was hot, ok? In shape too. Maybe not the smartest. But nice to look at.
My neighbors were having a bbq one evening and I thought I’d invite him. I figured if everything went well then we could just walk across the street to my house and “get down” and then he could go on his way. He accepted the bbq invite and I headed over next door. The doorbell rings and my friend answers. I’m in the living room area and I can see that he has arrived.
He walks in with rolling backpack. I kid you not. Just like Rita Right Eye had all those years ago. Henceforth, we will call him ‘Roly.’
I greet him and my friend motions for him to put his stuff by the door. More like park it by the door. Did this guy just bring a rolling backpack to a bbq? I had so many thoughts running through my mind. Did he think he was staying the week? Was he assuming we were having sex? Did he assume he was staying over? Was he homeless? I mean the list is just endless. My friend and I gave each other looks that seemed to say, ‘this is weird to you too, right?.’
Anyway, everything is going fine. Roly is pleasant. He’s sober – which doesn’t scare me. Might scare some people, but not me. I’ve dated a couple of sober people and honestly the sex can be better when there’s no Whiskey dick involved.
As the night came to a close and I thought ‘fuck it’ and figured I might as well take advantage of this erect dick situation (because you don’t know when drunk dick might appear).
So Roly rolls his rolling backpack across the street to my house and we get it on. Is it just me or do I sound like a pornographic Dr. Seuss?
He was fine. Not as good as Fabio, but maybe that’s because I had emotional damage from seeing a rolling backpack.
Roly woke up to his alarm at 5:30 in the morning (FML). He asked if I had any cereal. I, who don’t eat breakfast often, oddly happen to have some cornflakes and milk (probably in hopes that Kansas would sleep over- but that’s a story for another time). He then sat there at the kitchen table with me eating cornflakes at 5:30 in the morning (Hot, right?). He then packed up his rolling backpack, said he’d call me, and rolled out of my house. I never saw him again.
I don’t know where Roly rolled that thing to next, but I heard that he was a man about town. A few of my acquaintances said they matched with Roly on tinder. None of them however, wound up going out with him, or having the backpack experience (Guess I’m special?). Little did I know, that Rita Right Eye, two years later, would be rolling her “backpacks” to Los Angeles. Even though having been in the business, I guess Babysitter knew all along that I had my sights set on LA….
(Me with glasses. I’ll find one soon of the patch)