Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about RV's (but were afraid to ask)
We are at a festival of some kind. The citizens of this planet call themselves Pomonians. The inhabitants worship a god of commerce idolized by large fossil fuel guzzling luxury recreational vehicles. They also age at an alarming rate; very few citizens appear to be under sixty. Pomonians rely heavily on a primarily grease-based diet for sustenance. We eagerly await our return to civilization.
Doing field audio for HGTV sure does lead you down some interesting paths. A week in Pomona covering an RV road show certainly can alter one's perception of things. We toured twenty-some RV's in seven days. The Pomona fairgrounds had been converted into an oasis for the aged outdoorsy types. With RV's as far as the eye could see.
For the first couple days it was kind of quaint. A chance to get out of LA and see what life is like outside the city. These are Real People. This is America. This is everything our notion of freedom stands for. Elderly rednecks chugging beer while shopping for giant luxury diesel-engined machines to carry them out to the desert where their joints won't ache.
Old people like the heat. That's why RV shows are in places like Pomona. Late October in Southern California is usually great weather. In fact it was, everywhere except Pomona. Too far to the east to catch the ocean breeze, but just west enough to catch that fine city smog, it was alwasy hot and humid. I could feel a layer of grime coating me by the end of each day.
Pomona must be the capital of the fast food world, or if not, it certainly should hold some sort of world record for grease. Trying to find a nice, healthy Caesar wrap was almost impossible. They had every kind of drive-thru chain you could name, and usually two or three of each. Pomona has not one, but two Sizzler's. This in a town that doesn't even have a main street.
I think I hit the quaintness wall at about day four. What had at first seemed cute and provincial about these people had now become irritating. All I saw were obnoxious confused old people wanting to know what we wuz takin' pictures fer.
And RV's as far as the eye could see, oh god, as far as the eye could see.
Roving from one RV to the next, patrons felt the need to shout at one another even though they stood side by side. They drank beer all day, then climbed into some monstrously huge American-made vehicle and barreled down the road just as the sun went down, blinking through their bleary cataracts.
The air was heavy with testosterone. RV salesmen live their whole lives on the road. Fast food and motel rooms. Sports and beer. Men with a capital "M." They kept inviting us to come to a cowboy bar with them, like that wouldn't have been a bad idea every step of the way.
Mic-ing up those salesmen turned out to be a true test of patience. I use a wireless mic, meaning I have to run a cable down their shirt and hide the transmitter in their pocket. They really liked it when I tucked in the slack.
By the end of our trip I was truly done with the human race. I could understand why other countries might hate us so much. We are one goddamn obnoxious nation.
We wrapped on a Saturday.
The Custom Couch stand was handing out blue icee's. It had finally cooled off, out of the triple digits for the first time all week. A genuine calypso band was playing, but they'd changed the lyrics to fit the "RV" theme. It was kind of an odd site to see hordes of old white people milling about while a Jamaican Rastafarian sang:
"If you want to be happy for the rest of your life
But by then nothing I saw could really shock me. I'd seen RV's outfitted with white leather, king size beds, and 40-inch plasma flat screens that came out of the ceiling. There was even one that talked. And I'd seen century-old toothless honkys plopping down the half a million dollars it cost to buy one. America is truly the land of opportunity.
I looked back on all I had learned while in Pomona, and one thought stuck out clear. The superficial culture of Los Angeles is at least culture of some kind, which is more than could be said of Pomona. Like we wrote in the card we bought for our fearless producer, "thanks is not enough, but a week in Pomona sure as f*ck is."