Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture


Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

I really enjoy this moment when I go from fear oh my God it's the 16th my deadline is not only not looming it's actually on top of me and I know something will happen I don't know what it is but the anticipation is kind of delicious.

That could be kind of a metaphor for life since we're all cruising along and we think we know what's going to happen next but in truth we don't. That's kind of ghoulish. Somebody I was talking to recently said yeah we're hardwired to forget our mortality second-by-second because if we focused on it we'd never be able to put one foot in front of the other it would just be impossible.

This would be one of the reasons I'm starting to hate Facebook because I keep logging on and something that I didn't want to know about is right there and I can't unring the Bell as they say: like the local guy is dead who took our photos for the lobby in a play 20 years ago. Like somebody who's a good 25 years younger than me who I went to school with is rehearsing a role that I've always wanted and I privately think bitch you're still too young for that role. I get the treat of seeing you posting about when the show opens and that this was a publicity photo that doesn't accurately reflect how your hair is going to be done and so forth. But that doesn't change anything. I still hear that music running in my head because I was almost off book when I auditioned and they called me back for the wrong role.

Like the time I read for Winnie the Pooh and I was so set on getting Eeyore to the exclusion of reality check that there's no way physically that I could ever play Eeyore because I just don't have the bone structure. Nevermind I totally got the logic of it in fact the person who eventually was cast was perfect. That don't matter. My stature has never matched my voice.  I boomed out my best stentorian voice and I could hear it bouncing off the back wall of the auditorium. That's the damn problem you can't exactly do blind auditions like they do for orchestras and all they care about is the sound. Remember that soprano who was blessed with the voice of an Angel and yet the reviews concentrated on how much they thought she was overweight. So no I don't want to hear about how you got the role that I've always wanted to do and you're going to go on after that and get to do other stuff that I would probably get to do were I not in my dotage.

Except my dotage is way past where people would already be dead so why the hell am I complaining? In fact I decided about a month ago to totally drop this whole business of arguing with people and decided that since I love being listened to,  I'm going to practice listening like a motherfucker. It's been going pretty well. I slip every once in awhile when I realize that I'm doing that thing waiting for my turn to speak instead of listening to what somebody's got to say. It's just in this particular case it was the knitting Circle at my neighbor's house and her cousin simply does not know how to temper her enthusiasm for anecdotes she just talks a Blue Streak and back, you can almost hear the gears calibrating how much she should reveal about something sort of tantalizing us with the idea that oh yeah your story was great but mine oo, oo, oo! You had chickens well we had 50 chickens you had scrapes and bruises well I had a bone sticking out of my Flesh. It's kind of exhausting of course you got your knitting so you can concentrate on that if you get bored. There is something about monopolizing conversations how

God that reminds me of my great uncle Wayne who was the sine qua non of family pontificators. Everybody had to shut up while he was talking. Of course his sisters adored him and he was pretty smart but also Midwestern and that meant that he talked very slowly. Which is tolerable if you're interested in the subject at hand but damn it could be anything as long as he was interested in it then you had to be captive audience. Especially when lunch wasn't quite ready and you could hear your stomach growling.

So let me tell you a story I won't keep you captive but I'll try to make it interesting.TRAVEL-138-cr I was heading to a theater rehearsal on BART, which means hopefully sitting down and in my case definitely in a spot where I could see the train station so I could catch which station I was at, make sure I got off at the right one because I don't usually go to that area of town. Anyway with recent foot injury I'm still tentative and I want to make sure to protect myself. I don't know why I picked the seat I picked except it was available right perpendicular to the traincar. A giant open space next to the sliding doors and wouldn't you know do three stops down the line just before the tunnel, three athletic dudes set up their beat box and introduce themselves with rapid fire patter which means they're already amped up they know that the cops are going to chase them off the train soon as they get to the next station. The length of the trans-bay tunnel gives them just enough time to do their routine. The problem is the music is ear-splitting, these guys can't be more than mid twenties testosterone up the wazoo and I'm sitting there feeling the following things: I'm old, I'm white, I'm female, I'm temporarily semi disabled and I do not need a re-injury relapse at this juncture and holy crap all of this reads on my face a jolt of annoyance fear guilt adrenaline anger.

Of course they're not waiting. Jump right into the routine and grab onto the bars overhead doing gymnastics to the crazy music. One after the other and I think they probably save the most vigorous fellow for last. Meanwhile I'm thinking ah shit if I get up and move quickly then the first thing that's going to happen is somebody is going to catch me on their phone where they're already recording these guys and the next thing you know I'll be on YouTube as white lady flees black performers. All I truly wanted to do was get away from the music because it was so painfully loud I'm lucky I didn't have my hearing aids in but then sometimes I don't wear them especially not going on BART because it's already too loud and painful.

Then my body did a funny thing. I had missed my chance to get up because I'm hobbling already I would not have been able to move quickly.  The inner hippie in me flung itself to the surface. I felt a sense of Peace steal over me. I concentrated on how close the performer was to me I could admire the muscles in his biceps beautiful color of his skin trying my damnedest not to have a stereotypical doofy hippy dippy smile on my face because that would have been too much. I thought how absurd to be so tangled up in recriminations when the whole incident isn't going to take more than about 5 minutes, and what is that in the lifespan of a average human?

Listen, people. It could work.

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Claudine Jones has had a long career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer.
She writes a monthly column and is a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2018 Claudine Jones
©2018 Publication Scene4 Magazine




October 2018

Volume 19 Issue 5

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