When I was a kid I used to pretend I was in music videos a lot. I’d throw on some ratty headphone, stare longingly out the window during an exceptionally long car ride, and mouth the lyrics dramatically while the imaginary camera panned the length of the minivan. Think Enrique Iglesias “Hero” video, minus the excessive amounts of monopoly money. I’m fairly certain we all did this—pretended to be cooler than we really were. Kids of the MTV era tend to see everything as an opportunity for a music video, and we are always the stars.
I don’t much make mental music videos any more (she said, lying through her teeth), but that feeling still occasionally crops up when I throw on headphones and go for a walk. A particularly sad song will begin its painful melody, and the fake tears will bloom in my eyes, and I’ll be looking off wistfully, just past imaginary camera B, while imaginary camera A takes an establishing shot of me walking down the lonely block, preferably with the after effect of rain. I am the coolest person in a five-block radius, and everybody knows it.
I was having one of these moments recently while walking around the lake by my apartment. I tend to forget how busy Saturdays can be in downtown, so to up the cool factor I decided to get myself some ice cream around the half-way point—mint chocolate chip, waffle cone, flyest girl to leave the line.
I pushed the headphones back into my ears, pressed play, and began the walk around the lake again, perhaps even adopting the beat of the song as my new walking rhythm. About ten seconds later, several factors occurred to me. 1) The weather, while gorgeous, was in the high 80s. 2) High 80s melt ice cream almost immediately. 3) I hadn’t grabbed enough napkins. 4) I was now covered in mint chocolate chip ice cream. 5) Ice cream does not disappear like water when it dries. 6) Ice cream is not only incredibly sticky, but it stains.
I accepted my fate, switching to an audiobook, and abandoning all hope of looking as cool as a music video.