Mental Videos Make the Memories Come Alive
Years ago, as watching videos on the internet became more popular, I realized I needed to broaden my skills as a print journalist to compete and thrive in a rapidly developing multimedia world. So, I took a course at the Poynter Institute that taught me how to tell a video story.
Creating videos was different than writing stories, but I liked that visual content often stuck in my brain for longer.
I share this to explain why sometimes I “shoot” videos in my head that I play back later, as a way to remember special memories. I find I am doing this more and more with my wife, Jill.
Because Jill is gene-positive for Huntington’s disease, a rare, terminal illness, I know that each minute we spend together is special. As a result, I try to relish the time we spend together, and have developed a habit of keeping a video library in my memory bank. I can then select a “video” to replay when I think about her during the day, which I often do.
I want to share with you one of these memories, which illustrates many of the things I love about Jill. It shows her independent spirit, her sense of humor, and her intelligence.
Earlier this year, while buying our new car, the salesman walked away at one point and was replaced by a guy who wanted to sell us some additional products to jack up the price of the car. Mr. Upscale, as I call him, was your typical (bad) salesman. He was a bit full of himself and overly confident. His first mistake was to ignore Jill and address only me in his pitch.
After he handed me a brochure, which explained how the dealership could protect the new car’s paint job and offer fabric protection, Jill stopped him and asked what the price would be.
He told her he wouldn’t tell us the cost until we knew all the benefits, then turned his attention back to me. I could tell from Jill’s face and body language that she was not interested in anything he was selling because of how he was treating her.
As the video plays in my mind now, I can hear Jill ask the guy for the brochure, and know full well she only does that to mess with him. I can picture her looking at the brochure and then, as the salesman keeps talking to me, say, “Oh, look, honey, this protects the seats from blood stains. Now getting rid of the bodies will be easier.”
I see Mr. Upscale pause for a moment, then continue with his pitch to me. He’s still hopeful for the sale, not realizing that we are united as a couple. If Jill doesn’t want something to happen, I trust her enough to know that’s the right decision. Because she felt disrespected, I wasn’t going to buy anything from this man.
And we didn’t.
The scene ends, but the video continues because the salesman’s behavior reminded Jill that, as a customer, she is very important. At that moment, she resolved to make sure that others knew that.
The next day, she put her resolve into action during a doctor appointment. I’ve written in the past about her issues with these visits, such as feeling anxious and stressed when medical staff don’t treat her with empathy. With the memory of Mr. Upscale’s disrespectful treatment still fresh, Jill knew she needed to be seen and understood as a customer/patient.
She decided she would no longer apologize for her high blood pressure because of her white coat syndrome. She would let the nurse know that she doesn’t like being touched because of her sensory issues.
As the video of that visit plays in my head, I realize why it’s so important for me to have a mental bank of memories that I can “click” on to rewatch. It reminds me that the tough, funny, and smart woman I love is not a victim, though Huntington’s will try to make her into one. It will also remind me of all the moments we’ve shared that make us grateful for our journey together.
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