I was sweating out my time up at asthma camp, in part because I was afraid to interview 9 to 13 year old kids. I mean, what are they going to say? How am I even going to approach them with a microphone? And these are kids struggling with severe asthma, who've spent nights in the hospital, who sometimes can't breathe, can't run and play with the other kids. Some of them have multiple ongoing problems in addition to their asthma, such as poverty or morbid obesity. One of the participants in camp arrived with a Ziplock freezer bag, a big one, overflowing with meds.
And here I am with my microphone and cheesy pseudo-hip, I-was-a-kid-once-too type questions. Disaster, right? And the last radio story I did involved Broadway actors, some of whom could barely hold it together long enough to answer even one question coherently. And these are kids. Could be a short day for middle-aged housewife type reporters.
I wandered around the craft cabin and found the girls working on some sort of teepee. They were coloring and gabbing. When they noticed me, one of them nodded at my microphone. "What's that?" I told her. She brightened.
"Yeah? You gonna interview me?"
I said, sure. And before I could unfurl the first question, she was going on and on about the friends she'd made and how much she loved it. And I mean on and on. Within five minutes, all the girls were up and doing the cheer they'd made up. Then they each wanted to be interviewed in turn. One of the girls told a story about how she was laughing so hard during the canoe ride that she farted. And she was laughing so hard while telling it that we were all holding our noses in anticipation. Two of them grabbed my microphone and sang songs.
"Too bad you guys are so shy," I said. They looked annoyed.
"We're not shy," one of them said.
Best quote was when one girl told me that she didn't miss TV. I said, "Really?" I couldn't help it. Then when I was interviewing the boys during their cookout, I said to one of them, "Hey, one of the girls told me she was having so much fun that she didn't miss TV."
He smirked at me. "She's a liar," he said. Then he got up, walked away from our interview and over to where the other boys were sitting. He said, "Hey, some girl said she didn't miss TV." They looked up from their plates. "What?"