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Pathétique

Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

I don't know if it's because I just turned 70 but I have a recurrent theatrical fascination with my body parts. Like I'm looking at my hands and I'm realizing  the same thing that applies to my feet also applies to my hands: I'm half one parent and half the other. My right foot the second toe is exactly like my father's—absurdly long and skinny, sticking out so far that sometimes my shoes are fine on the left but don't work on the right because of the long toe. And of course the left foot, same toe second one from the big toe, is short and stubby just like my mother's, so not the same issue with shoes. But I have a problem looking at my feet.

If  I'm wearing socks and shoes then it's not so obvious. But with hands? Very hard to ignore. They're right out in front of you, doing. Constantly. I knit, I type, I knead, I drive...I see that I am a product of at least two people. No surprise there. I'm looking at my hands right now as I compose this. I observe that the back of my hands look very much like I remember my grandmother's on my father's side.

I watched her sew. I observed her somewhat finicky style of handling food in the kitchen. She was very careful not to touch anything. She would mix everything with spoons or forks. Sticking her hands into a meatloaf  would have traumatized her. When she was in the kitchen everything was very clean; no sense of anybody even really being in there. Quiet, stealthy, sneaky creeping up on the innocent ingredients, persuading them to come together into something edible.

On my mother's hands the fingers are stubby. She calls them peasant's hands. Because of this apparent deficit, she always wears her nails long--not so much anymore because she as trouble with arthritis--but has stuck with the same pearly pink translucent nail polish the last 60 years, and loves to wear multiple rings.

And she's very envious of long fingers, like she says I have, but I don't care. I only see my big flat palms exactly like I remember my father's and then I turn them back over and see the different nail shapes. My right hand ring finger looks like Granny's, but on that same hand index finger looks just like my French aunt's. In fact that's really strange.

The more I contemplate the more it seems like I've mischaracterized everything; my right hand actually looks just like my French aunt's and my left hand depending on how long the nails are, looks kind of like a mixture of two or three people, like my brothers or other family members that are no longer around.  That's definitely my dad's thumb.

Thus continues an oddball series of Oddball commentary.

Hands-cr

Like what the heck's going on with the rain. It's been raining copiously for a couple months off and on.  Makes it hard to check the chickens. I have this awful thought that when I go out there they'll both be dead but they're hardy even when they haven't had anything to eat for several days. I had somebody come out and trim the trees in the back, get rid of a ton of detritus so that was good but now the oxalis is coming back with a fury and I'm wondering why I bothered.

Then there's the inside where we're trapped while it's raining. Kind of like my mother and her little apartment; she complains that she's not able to do housework and I get that but I privately think who needs it, and then I look around my place and realize holy crap. I'm doing exactly the same thing. Overwhelmed with mundane tasks.

I hear the rain, I hear the earth receiving this sweet rain after all the drought.

But I'm filled with dread.

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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

 

 

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March 2019

Volume 19 Issue 10

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