Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazine

 Claudine Jones

I've been sitting here all week fighting. Day after day.

It struck me a while ago, the times I've worked with somebody professional, or at least quasi professional have brought me really close to a sense that as a performer I'm permanently limited. Like the assistant music director/movement maven who said I want balls to the walls, give me balls to the walls and then after a performance I saw him in the lobby and I said so was it balls to the walls? He smiled but I'll never know if he was lying.

I'm torturing myself over this current retirement choir project. I don't like it, I disliked it on sight and still I'm struggling with a sense of obligation. I can't drop out, I can't enjoy it, I can't get it into my bones in a way that'll make it fabulous for me. Which of course I have experience of doing, I know what it's like.

Am I too old for this shit? Is it finally working down to what I thought today: those old so-called qualitative thresholds coinciding with the breakdown of my physical ability to do the work? I hear people talking about choreography and I just, it makes me want to scream.

And what's even worse, this exploration of travel insurance and pre-existing conditions for crying out loud means not only am I piggybacking this miserable project on top of the month-long summer choir tour, during which I put myself in frankly dangerous conditions--not only covid but random accident on a 300 year old stone stairway? Come on, what am I doing? So okay let's say I buy the insurance and then what? How much joy can you get out of a trip in the works for 2 years finally reaching the point where it's actually going to happen and all I can think about is if I drop out of this stupid project then I have four weeks to spend with the guy who's going away party it was. Jesus Christ.

So no, I'm not having a good time and on top of everything my middle son tested positive this week. I talked to a friend about this. First off she wasn't really with me she was busy watering plants and she insists on walking back and forth from her phone while she's doing this instead of just keeping it in her freaking pocket so her voice goes way close and then way far away and then way close and then way far away. Not exactly optimum. And then she reacts emotionally by proceeding to tell me what I'm supposed to be doing. Made me feel like I'm kind of stupid or inept. It wasn't a great conversation. We haven't had any incidents of COVID in the household up until now. But it's not like we don't know the protocols, it's just different when it's right there in front of you. Why did I even open my big mouth?

I've had a year-and-a-half of therapy to wrestle with all kinds of demons and sit with the feeling it is all kinda pointless because we're all human and this is all just so common, I'm not unique in any way. And then very recently I was sitting in front of my computer, I can't say exactly what it was. Shopping? Or reading emails? Or the news? Whatever it was, it was suddenly accompanied by a very peculiar feeling. I'm not able to recapture enough detail to really bring it to life but I will say this: it felt odd enough to bring me up short. As the Good Ol Advaita guys would say I was observing myself observing. I saw myself quizzically thinking wow is this what it feels like to actually recognize you're losing your mind? Damn. I wish I could nail down the parameters of it, it was so deadening. Like watching what you have always thought was your actual identity hop up on a little trolley car and begin its descent toward the horizon.

Then Miss Thing phones me back two days after the Plant Incident only this time she's with the dog and they've driven off somewhere trying to catch a glimpse of the Lunar Blood Moon. I can't see anything on my end—completely hazy—but, again, what am I doing? She's absorbed in this to the extent that she's checking her phone while she's talking to me, getting data on the Eclipse times & locations & wants me to do the same since I made the mistake of telling her I'm on the computer (running music drills, see dratted project above). Then out of nowhere comes a booming male voice. 10 minutes later he identifies himself as Kevin. I can hear him so much better than I can her; it's a strangely one-sided conversation in this order: me, friend, KEVIN.

I have no desire to compete. Another 10 minutes goes by and I've closed the Eclipse browser, put my headphones half back on so I can at least work on the score, finishing up making notes as I go through minutia and fashion something I will at least be able to make sense of in performance.

Kevin is now taking friend's enthusiastic cues to talk about various breeds of dogs. And his childhood. 

I hang up. 

But you know what? Here's something nice. My oldest son inexplicably approached me with concerns about my sleep Quality and then authoritatively installed an app on my phone and then showed me how to use it. It's been a week and by God, it actually works. Something to look forward to. It tells me when it heard snoring and talking and deep sleep. Each morning I am awakened by the sound of rainfall. It's quite pleasant.

Tap twice to snooze. 


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Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

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

©2022 Claudine Jones
©2022 Publication Scene4 Magazine




June 2022

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