Monologues for Women
(free for students & auditions)

Jenna's Jobs
Monologue for young woman or teen From "Bliss Sketches"

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2000 Geralyn Horton

Jenna, a sensitive English girl who left school early, talks about her rewarding change of job from house cleaning to Day Care. Though Jenna is an English character, it is not necessary to play her with a regional accent-- attention to the lilt of her speech and a crisp articulation of consonants should give the right flavor. At the beginning of her story Jenna is hesitant and a bit scattered, but she gains in speed and confidence as she goes on.

Jenna's Jobs

I went to India, you see. A while back. When I went to a restaurant with some Indian people, to get in to eat we had to step over a crippled old beggar who looked like he was starving. He stretched out his hand, and they went on by without even looking at him. And I asked them, how can you do that? How can you bear to do that? And they said it didn't matter. It was the beggar's past lives and the karma he'd built up because he hadn't lived properly. Nothing to do with them. If he bears his suffering now, he'll move up when he's reborn. I wanted to ask them if they weren't afraid that by passing him by they'd be reborn way down like he was, but I didn't. They way they explained it, there's to be no moving up or down in this life, no getting away from what you're born to.

After I came back I didn't feel like going back to school, and so I just fell into house cleaning. I didn't think about it really. I went from helping out friends to having it as a job. Not that there's anything wrong with cleaning for people. It's useful. It's honest. I don't mind it, it's all right. But my friends say, Jenna, everything's all right with you. You just go along with it, whatever it is. Somebody comes along and knocks you down, flat on your face, and you look up and say. "It's all right, I'm all right with it." All scratches and bruised. So I'm cleaning this house-- I don't even remember whose house-- but I remember finding myself slowing down. Still cleaning, but slowly, very slowly, meditating almost. Until I find myself standing in the middle of the floor thinking, what am I doing here? This is lonely! This is a dead end. Am I going to be doing this, slowing to a stop in a stranger's house, when I'm forty? Oh, please, God, no! And just at that moment I hear the post fall through the mail slot. And right on top is a flyer printed in big letters that I can see from clear across the room, "Have you ever considered working with children?" My question is answered! With a question.

So I considered it, working with children. I signed up for the training. The idea to reach out to poor children early, before they get locked in like their parents. Teens is too late, nine is too late-- we want to help them when they are five, encourage them to learn and believe that they can grow up to do anything they want. So that's what I do now-- I'm a "play worker". And a manager-- I've been promoted to manager! The management part is keeping track of their allergies and accounting and safety-- safety for the children comes first. There are lots of rules, safety rules, made by the first group of children to be in the program. We recite them every day-- one rule is "We don't all have to like each other, but we do all have to try to get along" That's a good one. Well, they all are! Grown-ups should recite them too: "take turns". "Share". It should take about two minutes for the recitation, but sometimes it takes fifteen, because the kids don't want to. It's boring, they say, and they argue or just run away and make me chase them. I say, "it's not as boring to recite as it is to argue about it"! But they don't agree. Stubborn little 5 year olds love to argue. It's a new thing to them. They like to make me chase them, too. I don't mind. It's a new thing to me, running around after children and not quite catching them. That's my "play work". I also work by playing Snakes and Ladders and Snap and Slap Jack. Carrying cards in my pocket, and dice. The kids are always losing track of them when they need them to play. I read children's books to them, too. And sometimes I have to hold one end of the skipping rope if the child in the middle is very much taller than one of the others.

It's rewarding. The time goes by in a flash because a child's energy is so quick. They're running around and you pick up their energy and run too, you become childlike. And it's aways different: not like housecleaning. Every day different games and different personalities, and even in one day it's not always the same kids. The parents come and pick up some of the younger ones, and others are brought in from different schools, finally older ones, seven and eight year olds. Some are little angels and some are bratty, but the groups are always changing and it's never bad for long-- and it's never the same. I don't get tired. I pick up a new wave of energy with each new group of kids, and I just go and go and go until I'm speeding as fast as they can. I've been so busy I haven't had time to think about whether I'll still be doing it at forty. But if I am, probably it'll mean I'm still young, at least at heart. Maybe I'll never get old.


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