Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture

Wrong Red

Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Repeatedly reminding myself to breathe, even though it's a long-standing item on my to-do list. It's just been extremely hard to focus on prioritizing. As a survival technique it's very soothing to have a list, soothing to check them off, soothing to talk into a computer, instruct it to make check boxes which you then can check. This is not a Zen thing? Attitude? I think so. I think I can get through this.

Yesterday in a maddening rainstorm with upcoming lunch date with Mom I kept reminding myself rain good rain good. You can't go to Cape Town where they've had five years of drought and not have a mantra of rain good. Rain equals good. Of course there are ancillary deficits; there's things like erosion of soil which causes a Mudslide, or a tree deprived of water for so long that its root system is compromised and so the first time you get heavy rains tree falls over. That can spoil your afternoon. I was thinking: how does that work? Like if my big old Redwood were to fall over on my neighbor's house would their insurance pay for it or would mine? Surely that's an act of God. I didn't cause the drought. In fact I've been really good, I have had solar on my roof for a long time and I save water and I recycle and I do all kind of other things like composting and so forth. So surely I'm not to blame. I didn't plant that tree and I've actually been very careful not to do something like bad pruning like lollipop, like that.

But since I have a buddy system now requiring that every time I go over to my mother's, I be accompanied by somebody...see self-preservation above... I engineer it so that my friend J who was going to go for a visit to mom anyway, is buddy and wouldn't object to us making it a threesome. It's hard when you're a shut-in not to take every opportunity you can to get out and about. Of course mom wanted to go out to a restaurant. I have just enough of a hearing loss that I would prefer not to go to spaces where I've got to struggle to hear so I vote for staying in and having some homemade soup. I was going to bring it of course. No soup! Not interested in soup. Not a question of  soup; a question of wanting to go out. But the rain! What do we do about the rain. And this wasn't Minor this was a oh between 2pm and 6pm  there will be torrential flood type stuff. So I remind her that the roads are not fun in the rain. We leave it to chance.

And what is chance? Showing up at a audition with just the right hairdo and then you go to call back and your hair isn't quite the same so the director doesn't recognize you, and you never get a side because assistant director don't have you on the list. Of course you wouldn't be there auditioning if you were shy about stepping up so of course it gets sorted out in the end. Except for those times when director looks at you oh. You were the one with the hair. I liked the hair.

It's raining like a mofo, so J and I can split a box of green pea soup and have some Saltines that come with Meals on Wheels. Mom isn't hungry anyway, so she just has a cup of tea. Picking out a flavor for ourselves, we are lectured that tea bags are the product of the devil. Somebody told mom 50 years ago that the origin of tea bags was leavings of the dust from loose Tea production. Anybody who drinks tea from a tea bag is getting exactly what they deserve. That's not tea. That's the equivalent of drinking an infusion of boogers. I refrained from mentioning that some of the best tea that I've ever had was two weeks ago when I went to a friend's house and she presented me with something called cinnamon spice, which tasted so much like the Good Earth tea that I remember from back in the day and which has become miserable overtime probably because the company got bought by somebody. But my friend! She brewed me a cup of this stuff and it was just fabulous. It was so good that I immediately jumped on my tablet and bought some straight from the company that makes it. They would probably sad to hear that somebody out there thinks their stuff is fly poop.

We talk about lots of things: how many times a night we have to get up to pee. I'm down to zero actually because I don't know. I just seem to be doing really well on that score anyway. We talk about assisted suicide and how much you might have invested in whether or not a close friend actually followed through on their plan or maybe Death just took her because it was time and he could. And I think it's circles back around  to who are we talking about? Are we talking about the friend or we talking about ourselves? And if we're talking about ourselves how difficult is that...

The dynamic shifts when somebody enters the room like, you know, that woman who comes into the lobby at the last minute and you go crap because you've been waiting for the person who was going to go up for the part that you're up for and there she is. Not only that, she's a friend of the director. And she's late because? Because you can when you're the director's friend. Although that's not exactly true because at least twice I can remember being horrendously late for something and getting the part anyway. It was adrenalin, Pushed Me Over the Top. That happens. Happens in performance you just get a little Zinger thinking about something and it's just enough to make that performance special.

We're talking about colors and J has a beautiful sweater on, combination of blues and reds, and I remember a cardigan that I gave my mother 50 years ago, probably when I was finally getting all my stuff out of their garage. I remind her that she loved the color. She wants to know why I gave it to her. You love the color. What color? Well it was deep red and I point to the top of J's sweater, and oh no I wouldn't love that color. Why are you telling me this? Because I was remembering how upset you were that it was a letter sweater. What's a letter sweater? I don't know that term. J and I exchange a glance. That was a high school thing Ma. Like if you were going with a guy who was lettered in basketball or something he gave you his letter sweater to wear. Why did I want that sweater? You love the color. What color? Well it wasn't Chinese red. No I love Chinese red, It wasn't that color. I don't remember this at all. Well I was a long time ago but I still feel bad because you were upset when you found out that that was a letter sweater; it had three stripes on the left sleeve. And somebody made fun of you for wearing it. You were furious and you gave the sweater away.

But you sure loved the color.

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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.

©2019 Claudine Jones
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine




February 2019

Volume 19 Issue 9

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