April 2024

It's melting

Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones

Watchin’ junk teevee, me and the old man often used to yell plot device! You know what that is: She does something completely out of character—that means either she's headed for a breakup with her boyfriend, she's going to get seduced by the handsome new doctor—and boyfriend is going to be upset because he's dealing with some other problem that he hasn't told her about because of course he always keeps Secrets which drives her crazy aaaand… plot device!


My PT is very adamant.

The Core has to be Strong so this time I'm walking up the (carpeted) stairs, five steps Landing six steps Landing seven stepsTopFloor. Not touching the handrail, holding a hot cup of honey Citrus ginger tea in my right hand and the-soon-to-be-empty jar with the last of gooey tea, to which I have added hot water to rinse it out cuz my cup's too full so I'm going to carry them both up to my couch, where I am comfy, and refill my cup from the jar. Makes sense.

Okay, remember the Core? That's the secret. Stand at the bottom, get settled make sure you don't have either slippery socks or—my current favorite—free cheapy Airline socks that tend to get all bunched up hence (yay) tripping hazard, or a random box on the stairs to kick. Or ugh have to pee. Arms level at 10 & 2.

Unfortunately I'm actually just on the edge of pee but since the rest of the criteria have been met it’s a go. Onward! Tea’s a chillin’.

Place right foot on bottom step, solidify Core. Proceed to place left foot on that same step. Check balance. Cup and jar are level. If it's dark oftentimes it takes this step or the next to activate the automatic light strip on the wall. So I stand for a second to wait for that.

But the real question is does the right foot go up to the next like a baby does or do I walk like a regular person go ahead and let the right leg activate to lift the left? I'm going to go ahead with the left. This is good. Light strip is on. Oof. Now we're on the first landing. Make a right turn. Everything balanced. Core strong.

Start counting: right left right left right left. Landing. The next strip light doesn't need to activate because upstairs hallway light is already on and visual is good.

Now we have only seven steps to go but we also begin to factor in the Specter of Loss of Focus, then endure a brief Fantasy of Disaster, and then welcome Righting of the Ship. A bit of a nailbiter if you will. Count evenly to the Top.

Now I can drink my tea.


Yesterday on the laptop in between episodes of the new ShŇćgun , I hazard a look at Facebook which I rarely do, mostly so I can maybe catch pictures of my grandson. And also disc music boxes although that's getting pretty boring, or piano rolls. Invariably somebody's got a hundred piano “scrolls” they inherited and they want to sell them for very silly prices and people say ooh where are you and they say I'min [name some far-flung state] and they mention Media Mail and they go back and forth and back and forth. Somebody invariably chimes in their general worthlessness unless they have Fats Waller or a rare Scott Joplin. I don't want any more piano rolls anyway, so.

So here I am on Facebook and I don't remember how I accidentally run across a group whose name I’ve forgotten but is clearly designed and dedicated to criticism of RS. This is the guy whose Retreats have been going to for 3 years. I'm getting ready to leave for one tomorrow morning as we speak actually.

What on earth do I glean from scrolling through a bunch of these various comments and twitchy gossip? Words words words, a lot of name dropping—that for sure—teachers I've never heard of, and other modalities and links to articles. I know the guy—I’m not friends with him other than eating a meal or two together during the week retreat and there’s a lot of people, upwards of a hundred and fifty.

Nonetheless I feel insulted and reactive and defensive. Spend about a half an hour pouring over these detailed outpourings, looking for something to respond to. Never do join or comment—probably because it’s not practical and easy. I cannot type on that silly laptop, the keyboard is worthless. Like as not I type something with just two fingers and suddenly look up and everything that I just entered is in the middle of the sentence. I still don't know why it's doing that but it's neither here nor there if I'm going to type something on this particular laptop it's gonna be very short. And I'm too lazy to go over to my PC and fire up my dedicated keyboard. It ain't worth it.

So what's the conclusion? as a person I once slept with used to say to get me to the point quicker. (Not like you didn't enjoy the sound of my voice but honestly I think you would rather have heard me singing then just talking sometimes. Haha.)

The conclusion is I panicked and began spinning paranoias about the upcoming week and being trapped in a building with the Person who for all intents and purposes in this Facebook group is by turns conniving, money grubbing, fake, egotistical, sexual predator, debunked charlatan who is making millions off of unsuspecting dupes, namely me.

I don’t recognize the man I know. Except superficially, yeah he's British, a fact which he freely admits. He's repressed and kind of intellectual and remote.

Except I'll tell you a funny story which I shouldn't tell because it's out of school but I will anyway. We always do a thing on the last night of the retreat where we pull out the stops and put on a show. I usually sing and others do poems or play instruments Etc. And always always always there's somebody who will do a send-up of the retreat including a dead on imitation of R. Quite well done actually hilarious makes everybody roar with laughter.

So what happens this last time I was there, is the next morning at our final meeting, R. does what he always does which is walk very smoothly and quietly down the side aisle in his leather mocassins towards the dais where he has his chair. He climbs up there, sits down, plugs in his little headset.  Puts his hands in his lap and smiles at us. Only this time I kid you not, in direct reference to that send up which had a bit of risque can't say what the details were but just a teeny bit blue, the first thing he does when he's settled is undo the top button of his short sleeve shirt. I guess you had to be there to get the full impact of how extraordinary this unmasking of his reserve was. And how huge his smile at our laughter.

I'm sitting here dictating this on my phone and realizing 24 hours from now I'll be in an as yet undiscovered room amongst the myriad that are assigned and I will have, as I always do, rearranged my furniture to suit myself.

Unpack my toothbrush and beyond that, jump into the unknown.

Maybe I’ll sing Second Hand Rose on Saturday night. It’ll be fun.



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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.

©2024 Claudine Jones
©2024 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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