February 2023


Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones

What a month.

It's been raining and raining and raining and raining. It stops for a bit and then it starts again.

I dash out to check my little library out front and even though in this weather I can't see anybody randomly wanting to carry home a book much less put one in. My tiny succulents were drowning, but a drilling a hole or two at the bottom fixed that.


Were that the only dilemma. But, no! The gray-haired lady who was my first customer back in September and whom I advised we're not quite ready yet! has been making deposits faster than I can keep up. Not just one or two either.

There I stand, waiting for the clouds to open up on me, and my previously emptied library (three days ago, by me, of her books) has FIFTEEN new submissions. I'm stunned.

Make a split second decision. With the entire boatload in my arms (hardbound, mostly) I open the porch, place them in a cardboard box and get a bungie cord from the random garden stuff next to the window on the left. Stretch it around the library, just so. Perfect. Back into the house, for the last touch.

An assertive piece of packing material tucked in front into the bungie cord, with the words CLOSED FOR REPAIR.


A hard-won in-person lunch date gets weather-canceled. I wait around for what seems like an eternity to reschedule it. Then a couple of nights ago, when I'm finally at the stupid audition I made a month ago, and worse, in the middle of warming up and singing along with the group—before the director is going to take me aside to check me out, look at my teeth, omg ask me to sight sing something gruesome—I get a phone call. Arghh! Forgot to turn my phone off..

Caller ID: it's my lunch buddy. She leaves a message which I can't listen to until I get home.

Coming off of an audition, high from dodging the sight reading (?!) and being summarily welcomed in, I'm really not focused. I can barely make out the phone message but it sounds like friend is freaking out, so I give her a call. Even though it's late.

Two hours later we have sailed past midnight and we're still shaking our heads over what it means to live with this hostage situation amongst our devices.

I have to say she did calm herself a little bit, since I clearly was a diversion from what had been going on. We even talked about ancient memories of classes in high school, teachers we hated. How we skated through on our gpas.

Long story short she fell prey to somebody who sounded so official and so organized and capable that she could not somehow make her mind accept that she was being had. I find it kind of extraordinary, but she says that it took her six hours before the scales fell from her eyes and she realized hang on, this doesn't pass the smell test!

So I don't know, it just is such an mindless waste of time and energy. Loss of contacts and photos and email addresses. She has to do all kinds of things that she's now been told she needs to do like cancel credit cards and call her bank and all kinds of stuff. (My oldest son/8 bit guy would of course just face palm and say she should have called him.)

But here's the thing. In the midst of all this rain and flooding and wind and cold, a voice can still be warm. What I thought was going to be the end of a friendship, for reasons that my paranoia fed, yet she reached out and grabbed me through the phone line from a number that she had long ago written down on a scrap of paper: the old landline that I refused to get rid of because it's a really cool number I got to choose personally from a list, in 1981. I figured anybody who's still gonna use it might just benefit from having their call transferred to my cell phone. Good decision apparently.

I can't even quantify the level I was at before this. It was pretty low. Loss of sleep, or settled sleep anyway, weird dreams, obsessive drilling of not terribly interesting 8 bar compositions to hone my sight singing. Grief over the last choir and still getting irritated by communications from them that aren't relevant to me anymore. And throughout, this conviction that I was heading for some kind of disaster. I couldn't figure out how come the phone was silent, her texting had disappeared.

You know how it is when you've got a relationship with somebody that's very long standing and you're especially comfortable, it's not high stakes. But once in a while it appears like it's foundational. Like if one of the stilts that's holding you up falls away, you don't really have a lot of stability confidence at that point. This imagery only works if you acknowledge that nobody knows how many stilts they possibly have. They are invisible. But some way you can tell if things don't seem the same as they were, for whatever reason. My old therapist would say it's hooey, you can only count on yourself, but even so.

Ah me. The rain just started up again.



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Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones has 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.

©2023 Claudine Jones
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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