In 2001, I — like many other romantically-inclined young women — stumbled across a quirky little French indie film titled Amelie. From then on, my life was forever changed. No longer was I just a girl in a world looking for love — I was a girl, pretending to be in an indie movie, looking for a meta love that I could keep in real life. My post-2001 life consisted of living my every day like a camera was rolling. The world was my set, my iPod was my soundtrack, and my leading man was somewhere out there — somewhere totally random like a junkyard or avocado convention — waiting for our meet cute.
This bizarre, Truman Show-esque disease of the meta-filmic mind followed me out of bed each morning. I'd join the day wide-eyed and doe-like, blinking into the yellowing room like the world had been up all night waiting for me. I'd go through my day with my headphones on, listening to Yann Tiersen's compositions. Everything I did felt important and interesting, worthy of the playful orchestral arrangements in my ear buds. I'd smile at mailmen and strangers in windows. I'd stop in front of store windows to notice the displays head-on. I was never in a rush, I was always just on time, the world bent around me to make my every step meet my mark.
Over the next ten years, dozens of new indie films worked their way into the fabric of my being. I aimed to adopt the bare-face attitude of Kirsten Dunst, the jaw-clenching intellect of Chloe Sevigny, the bewilderment of Zooey Deschanel, the rock and roll of Sienna Miller, the subtlety of Brit Marling, the eccentricity of Juno Temple, the vulnerability of Evan Rachel Wood, the badassery of Kristen Stewart, and the command of Maggie Gyllenhaal.
But on a deeper psychological level, I know my desire to live my life like an indie film darling was much more of an existential crisis than a superficial one. I wanted to know that I was a part of something that had already been written. I wanted to know that there was always a song that would sync with my steps and the world around me knew just what to do. The ending was already written, all I had to do was walk around blinking a lot. If you had a similar affinity for indie films, these are probably a few of the scenes you tried to play out in your real life:
The Shower Cry
How to accomplish: Turn on shower and turn dial to "hot". Let the bathroom steam up for at least five minutes before you get in. Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature and then place face under the shower head. Close your eyes and sob loudly as the water beats down on your pinking face. Rest your forehead on the tile in front of you for dramatic effect.
The Ceiling Stare
How to accomplish: Lay in in your bed on top of your sheets, fully clothed. Stare at the ceiling for 30 minutes or more. Cycle between confusion, contemplation, frustration and subtle pleasure. Place one hand on your stomach or heart to appear more grounded.
The Spot You'll Find Me In
How to accomplish: First, find a spot that you can easily travel to. It can be a roof top, a tree, a rock, a stationary bulldozer, whatever. Go to this place often. Make sure you tell at least one person that this is your special place. Wait in this place until someone finds you. This will confirm that it is indeed, "your" place and whoever takes the time to find you there is certainly "the one".
The Bookstore Bambi
How to accomplish: Take yourself to the local bookstore. Spend hours reading and browsing. Find the a very obvious yet peculiar place to sit and pretend to read there until someone comes and talks to you. Brownie points if the book is a classic or the title in someway pertains to the type of meet cute you're after.
The Freedom Ride
How to accomplish: Take your bike out for a spin. Have no destination in mind. Ride slowly, taking your time to make eye contact with people you pass by. Remember to smile, just enough to make people think you have a secret.
The Drive Away
How to accomplish: Get in the car, roll the windows down, turn the music up and drive away. If you really want to make the scene feel real, sing along to the music loudly, especially if it's Sheryl Crow.
The Odd Job
How to accomplish: Get a service job. Make sure it's a public place where you're doing work that's far from glamorous. The less romantic, the better. Think: cheese specialist at the grocery store.
The Drink For One
How to accomplish: Get all dressed up and take yourself to the bar. Whatever you do, don't look around the room. Keep your eyes to yourself. Pretend you've just had a bad break up or gotten fired from work. You're not out looking for love, you're there to blow off steam. In time, someone will come talk to you — humor them.
The Mirror Pep-Talk
How to accomplish: After a steamy shower, use the palm of your hand to wipe away a clear circle on the bathroom mirror. Take a good look at yourself and then start talking. You can alternate between frustrations and affirmations. Just make sure you don't break eye contact with yourself.
The Open Water
How to accomplish: Go to the beach and run full force towards the open water. Stop yourself short just as you hit the shoreline. The more abrupt your stop, the more dramatic the scene. Think: there's an electric shock fence at the water's edge that you didn't see until the last second.
Once you finish all these tasks, just lather, rinse, and repeat until desired results achieved.
Images: Giphy, UGC-Fox Distribution