He’s been a constant companion at a number of BotCons made a few trips to the movies, just because.He’s cuddled next to me in bed after I’ve had a nightmare, or just trouble sleeping, or he’s lounged on my chest after I’ve had a bad day at work. He’s small enough to snuggle under my chin and compact enough to be tucked beneath my arm. He even transforms!
Who is he? Well, it’s this little guy:
His name is Slumblebee and he’s my mascot of sorts. Or more accurately, he’s my best Autobot friend.
Back in 2007, Hasbro released him and Softimus Prime, a pair of cute, cuddly snuggle-worthy Autobots. I needed this in my life. I knew that years ago. Because one of the things I wanted as a nine year old kid in North Carolina? A plush Bumblebee.
When I was a kid, I had–and quite frankly, still do–a thing for plushies. I couldn’t sleep unless I had one to snuggle with at night and they were the ones that heard all my secrets and knew things about me that I would have never dared to tell my parents. They were friends and companions that I knew, loved and trusted, probably more than my own family. (There are a lot of reasons for that; I can remember at the age of four that I dreamed my mother died in front of me. I felt nothing other than the fear of my father not being home and being alone. But any real grief? Nope, didn’t feel any.) So the idea of having Bumblebee, in a huggable form, was my main pipe dream as a child. He’d go everywhere with me, I knew and he’d be my best friend.
But of course, this was the 1980s and that sort of thing was well… seen as a bit “girly”. Sure, we had “My Buddy” but that was meant for younger boys. To see a boy over the age of seven with a plushie in his arms was to see that poor kid get ridiculed on the playground at school. So, realistically, I knew that a Bumblebee plush wasn’t going to happen. Which sucked, I thought.
Fast forward twenty three years.
When Slumblebee was released, I was ecstatic. I asked (okay, actually demanded) to get three of them and I kept one close to my side of the bed, within easy reach so I could grab the little guy for a quick hug. He got plenty of those, believe me. But he never made into the crook of my arm during the dark of the night. At least, not until one fateful night.
In 2008, Prime and I took in a viewing of Cloverfield. We went in with the idea that the movie was science fiction, but left realizing it was somewhere between horror and catastrophe. We both were physically ill from the shaky-cam footage and we were more than a little shocked. Not to spoil the entire movie–granted, it’s been around for about twelve years now–but no one makes it out alive. To say the ending, and everything else about it, was a downer would be putting it mildly.
Neither one of us slept worth a damn that night. It was pretty obvious as to why.
The next night, as I laid in bed with the blankets over my face, I reached over to my left and found Slumblebee. Seizing him by the arm, I pulled him next to me and kept him shoved under my chin for the rest of the night. I slept a bit better, I noticed, and didn’t feel that gnawing anxiety as I had felt the previous evening.
When Prime woke up the next morning, he asked,”How did you sleep?” Then he sighed and mumbled, “Oh, for pit’s sake.”
Still tucked under my chin was Slumblebee. “Hmm?” I mumbled, still half-asleep.
From that night onward, I’ve kept Slumblebee close. He’s been in my arms during nights that I can’t sleep, been tucked into a suitcase as Prime and I raced down the hallways and terminals in various and sundry airports to catch our flight to BotCon, ridden shotgun in one of my bags as I watched Transfromers: Revenge of the Fallen with our nieces from Kansas, snuggled next to me in a seat in a movie theatre as I did a marathon viewing of Bumblebee, among other things. I may be an adult, but I’m doing the things that I really wanted to do as a kid, basically goofing off and having fun with one of my best friends.
Only, that best friend happens to be a plush Autobot. It might seem weird, but it works for me.