by Michaela Lynch
Sorry, I don't normally type like that, but at this point it is necessary. Around 6pm, shortly before anyway, I was trying to get work done in my studio and get ready for a meeting about our MOCA project at 7. I began to realize my eyes were twitching, and then, upon looking up, realized that the fire alarm was going off. Never mind that I couldn't hear it in our studio with obnoxiously loud air vents. Anyway, I noticed the incredibly flashy, ADD inducing light and figured I might as well go along with it. So I grabbed my laptop, left everything else, and headed outside. Meanwhile, the voice of the fire alarm (some incredibly calm robot woman) told us something like "If you would like to leave the building, please exit through the stairs." At least she gave us a choice.
Now in a school where performance art is a regular occurrence, it was hard to take this seriously. We all stopped 2 feet outside the school and began to gossip. The security guards had to shoo us back. They, however stayed in the building. It couldn't have been that bad. So here we all are, sitting in the back of the parking lot, waiting as firetrucks showed up. Firemen, with open jackets and in no hurry, entered the building. Is this just some big joke? Apparently there was an issue in the ceramics department with a kiln catching on fire. And then the sprinklers went off. And then they couldn't turn them off. And then they had to call important people who make decisions. And then they had to pay some people to come out and clean up all the water. Because it supposedly flooded.
Meanwhile, we watched some of the old 50s Coronet films that I may or may not be using in an upcoming project. We watched stop motion Lucky Strike cigarette commercials. We listened to barbershop quartet style tv show theme songs. We sang "Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow." We watched "Llamas in Hats" and "Llamas in Hats 2" and "Lamas mit Hüten" which is "Llamas in Hats" in German. Then we watched "Charlie the Unicorn" in German. Apparently, there's no German translation for Candy Mountain.
We walked around, anxious. We became irritated. We asked questions. We were told to go to Starbucks for some $4 coffee. People freaked out about getting homework done. People freaked out about getting home. Car keys were left inside. Backpacks were left inside. Purses were left inside. Cell phones. Sketchbooks. Laptops. Portfolios. Everything. The Cat Man (this friendly guy who carries his cat in his backpack and is supposedly a CIA graduate) came by and asked what was going on. He returned and brought several loaves of bread. I thought it was like Jesus, with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. Some people thought the bread would be poisoned. Some thought it was made of cat. I thought it was made with basil and was delicious.
At this point, people were really irritated. Not just irritated. Frustrated. Annoyed. Mad. Angry. Furious. Pissed off. Not only were we not in our studio for all that time, but we couldn't go home and be productive there. We couldn't relax because they didn't know what time it would be, if ever, when we would be allowed back in. The security guards were so nice and patient, but really, I was getting angry for not helping us out more. I just wanted to get my backpack and go home. I asked if they would escort us up, or just grab our stuff. But they told us to go back outside. I was angry. Partially because they were getting paid to sit inside. We were paying money to use our studio. That we were kicked out of. Therefore, we were losing money while they earned theirs.
That MOCA meeting never happened. Homework assignments were unable to be completed. Everything was going wrong. And those bugs that are everywhere showed up. Finally, I was severely annoyed and called a teacher, who called her boss, who called their boss, who called the head of Facilities, who, minutes later, showed up and spoke with the security guards. HALLELUJAH. Not really. But a little bit. They told us we could go back in at 9pm. So we still had 40 minutes to kill. So we went to Starbucks and bought overpriced beverages. We went to the dorms and visited freshmen friends. We came back and pressed our faces against the glass. And finally they let us in.
And then I had to wait another half hour until the bus came. Just to go home and expect to find another 100 bugs on my ceiling, knowing that tomorrow, they would all fall dead on my stuff.