The bell rang. I put my shovel down, scraped the mud off my boots and hustled to the music building of Mt. Diablo Highschool. A classroom of high schoolers is a terrifying thing to walk into. The choir teacher happened to be at the tail end of his break. "Excuse me, sir, Hi. My name is Kate. I've been helping Mr. Oliver in the school garden and I was wondering if I could use this building's bathroom today to film a music thing.'
He told me matter of factly how to go about it. His hair was teal. He had multiple face piercings and I was jealous of those kids for having him as a choir teacher. He smirked as I turned to remove myself from the front of the classroom. "I hope you know that's a weird request."
Yes, I did know. Per Jessie and Jake's suggestion, Jenny and I had planned to record our Tiny Desk Competition video at a vista on Mount Diablo itself. That morning though the echoes of the tiled bathroom, the nostalgia and loneliness of its blue walls were too good to pass up. We figured the music teacher might be an ally.
After work was done we knocked on Patrick's door to return our tools. Patrick is our WWOOF host and the Environmental Science teacher at the school. Brimming with excitement we started to tell him about our plans but he opened the door only wide enough to allow his gruff practically fuming red bearded head into the air out of the classroom. "These kids are such shit academically."
We decided not to share our escapades, handed the tools over and bid him adieu for the day.
We changed clothes and set up the equipment out the back of the car: Ukele, quarter inch chord, tuner, microphone, mic stand, mixer, computer. With all this in tow we walked past kids sitting on grass eating sandwiches out of plastic bags, girls standing in corners with boys, individuals walking across the courtyard from one group to another group.
While Jenny set the recording levels I entered the social studies building and on the second try found a teacher willing to lend a stranger a desk from his classroom. A group of boys was standing on the stairs of the building and I had to walk through them with the desk hauled up over my shoulder. I banged both the front and rear legs against the doorframe on my way out. One of them asked if I needed help. I met his eyes through the frame of the desk, I a twenty nine year old woman and he an adolescent man. He did not mean it. The boys laughed. I said no thank you.
We recorded the video which can be found here at NPR's Tiny Desk Competition website (vote for it! like it! share it!). Two hours later I knocked on the social studies teacher's door and apologized to the class for interrupting. 'What'd she use it for?!' Someone from the back of the class asked his teacher as I was bending down to place the desk. 'I asked her to place it outside so Jose could have a place to sit.' and the class laughed. Jose was the boy from the stairs.