Claudine Jones

december 2005


Teeth aching for a month or two
No insurance
haven't been to a dentist for probably ten years 
I take care of my pearlies, though.
35 years ago my brother
the Vietnam vet dental tech
bloodied my gums
showed me the contents of the spaces between my teeth
as a wedding present.
I have not missed flossing a single day 
flossing is a fucking religion to me. 
I also use one of those pulsating toothbrushes
rinse with organic minty stuff from Whole Foods.

When my mouth started bothering me,
I thought ok,
the gods are not happy with me—
they've sent this pain to remind me that I am mortal. 
Internet research matched my symptoms:
Maxillary Sinusitis. 
That is somehow more bearable than thinking
my oral luck had run out. 
Treatable by aspirin and saline. 

And it buys me time to revisit a task at work.

I am a self-made wage slave 
at my present location in a small company
started with slicing up note paper
my colleague needed half-sheets with logos
graduated to verifying light bulb wattages
and front-load washer model numbers
setting print areas in Excel
redefining Invoices in Quicken. 
formatting tables of contents in Word—

turned full time
got raises
gained a 'mentor' as well as a 'supervisor'
the first half my age
the second more empathizer than overseer
admin assist has remained at one
the rest of the company has gone from 13 to 26 
doubled and shows no signs of stopping. 
There seems to be a direct correlation
between this surging in staff
and the ebbing of my career as an actor.

They have become habituated
to the sight of someone in the far corner of Admin
to whom they may complain
there are less than presentable towels in the bathroom and kitchen
'we could use something nicer'
or the mailing must move out today
'I know, I said end of the week—
but Thursday would be better'

I am head of Production on proposals
another way of saying
bind this pile of paper with wires,
make sure it doesn't go Page 3-4-2-5-1

I am the Voice on the answering machine
and must re-record the staff listing
when a new person comes on board
this takes knowing how not to fuck up
an entire insane phone system.
As unofficial coordinator of staff birthday parties
I retired
when I unintentionally asked one of the celebrants
if she wanted to make a cake for her own happy Occasion. 

Convulsed with work
15 hour days and nightmare deadlines…
teeth could wait.
The pain in my head
put Group Dental Coverage back on top.
Somehow my lack of enthusiasm let it slip
unnoticed to the bottom of the pile. 
How to manage my colleagues—
convince them spending some of their
hard-earned wages on their mouths is a good thing
that it should commence at this instant— 
and get all my ducks in rows that they
as engineers and statisticians can value.

Clearly not by auditioning.

Yet that is precisely what I have done. 
Almost a year of no action on stage and I'm back in it. 
The play was too new to be
available ahead of time.
No chance for anything but a quick google
character run-downs and plot references
Director 'loved' my audition
(I'm hungry enough to buy that)
I'm in, I've agreed. 
Getting cast is almost always the sucker punch. 

Already got a scene or two in my head just from the callback.
I can run with that,
got the pictures going up on the screen in 3D, man. 
Costume ideas, bits I could try. 
Fear of others in the cast fucking it up for us all
(not me—I wouldn't do that.) 
director's an actor, too—good!
hasn't directed anything for 20 years—not so good 
has an immoderate laugh— 
six weeks of rehearsals
I could learn to dig that laugh

Even teething.


Send Us Your Comments
About This Article


©2005 Claudine Jones
©2005 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. As a filmmaker, she is doing the final cut of YOUR EAR IS IN YOUR NOSE, destined for release next year or whenever her long time technical task wizard Animator Sam Worf gets his head out of his latest render.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives




december 2005

Cover | Contents | inFocus | inView | reView | inSight | Qreviews | Letters | Links Subscribe | Privacy | About | Terms | Contact | Advertising | Archives

© 2000-2005 Scene4 - International Magazine of Performing Arts and Media - AVIAR-DKA Ltd - Aviar Media LLC. All rights reserved (including author and individual copyrights as indicated). All copyrights, trademarks and servicemarks are protected by the laws of the United States and International laws. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.