This year I entered the Bolder Boulder’s I AM BOLDER contest. While I learned earlier in the week that my story was not chosen to be a finalist, the powers that be decided they wanted to shoot a video about my story anyway. The videographer arranged to meet with me Sunday morning. I had spent the few days prior preparing and thinking about poignant, meaningful things to say for my moment in the spotlight. I have shared the awful details of my surgery, my post operative failure to thrive, and the events that transpired leading to my running life with countless individuals, so I assumed the interview would not be too difficult. When the videographer arrived, I filled him in on the details of my history. He said that it sounded perfect just like that, and if I could just say that again for the camera we’d be finished in a jiffy. With a chuckle, he added that sometimes people actually forget their story so he has to prompt them. I laughed weakly with a foreboding pit forming in my stomach, knowing that was just the jinx I needed.
When the lights and camera flipped on, I managed to remember my name and that I’d survived a treacherous drive home and an open heart surgery, but after that my mind drew a blank. He looked at me with disbelief and who could blame him? I’d lived it after all, and had just told him all about it a few measly seconds prior. He had to feel disheartened as I sat there grappling with the cotton in my mouth and crickets chirping in my hollow skull.
This was not going to be quick or easy. All of my rehearsed eloquence was nowhere to be found and I feebly told him I needed to take a moment. As my moment grew to an eternity, he tried to come to my aid and asked if the surgery was “hard,” and I thought, “damned if I know,” but said, “why yes, of course it was hard.” I ran with that for a few minutes until the camera and lights entranced me again and I lapsed a second time into utter brain dead stupidity. While I may excel at expressing my feelings and the details of the struggles I’ve endured over the last few years in a written format, no one would ever know it from my apparent lack of verbal skills and basic command of the english language at that moment. For future interviews I will try to stage friends and family standing in the background with placards to jog my memory, such as “You had a surgery” and “It was hard.” We went back and forth for about 20 minutes and in the end, he managed to drag forth sufficient fragments of my past that he was confident he could produce an appropriate video. I do not envy the task of editing my video and I will be forever grateful if he is able to pull together something semi-intelligent.
After the interview, he wanted some footage of my family and of me training for the race. When he saw the trail around our subdivision he became excited as if he had been handed a golden opportunity to film a rare species of bird about to take flight for the first time in its pristine habitat. It was a gorgeous day and with the snow capped mountains as a backdrop, the opportunity could not be missed. He probably felt he needed something visually stunning to distract from the incoherent ramblings that he had painfully helped to dislodge from the recesses of my brain minutes prior.
On a mission for the perfect angle, he decided to venture in to the tall grass next to the trail to film me running. I cautioned him that the field was a known habitat for a variety of snakes, and perhaps he should select a different vantage point. The thought of snakes deterred him for a moment, but he braved onward, convinced there could be no other angle for his oscar worthy footage. In what appeared to be his attempt to ward off an attack, he yelled out rolling R sounds, “Arrrrrrr, Arrrrrrr” as he stepped gingerly through the brush, high stepping along the way to avoid unnecessary serpentine wildlife disruption. I told him to keep making lots of noise, and silently applauded his innovative approach to reptilian intimidation. He was like a photographer from National Geographic trying to secure the perfect angle for his money shot.
I am undoubtably in debt to this man for that shot if for nothing else. He showed it to me before leaving and it was in fact beautiful. I had intended to attach a link to the video as I was told it would be available on Tuesday, however it remains in the editing room as of this post, and perhaps it has been inadvertently relocated to the trash bin. Should it become available, I will edit this post and attach the link here. Until then, I’m Laurilyn Bailey and I am Older. No, I am Laurilyn Bailey and I am Colder. No, I am…wait, what?