Monday, September 21, 2015

Lo Hai Qu Rides the Napa Valley Wine Train

It's been quite a while since my crazy intern, yup, still an intern, Lo Hai Qu asked to take over HoseMaster of Wine™. I never quite know what to expect. Oh, well, here we go again...

So, like, me and my girls Loqueesha and Shizzangela, and Loqueesha’s weird cousin Klamydia, who was visiting from planet Dumbshit, which is right next to Uranus if you know where to look, decided we’d go to Napa Valley and ride the Napa Valley Wine Train. What a stupid fucking idea that was. Might as well ride the Napa Valley Wine Bus. It’s cheaper and you can get off when you want to, like the guy in the back playing with himself. I mean, I guess some people find trains romantic. Like the same people who think square dancing is cool. You’d never get me into one of those gigantic square dancing skirts, not me, I’d look like some fucked-up Tiffany lampshade for orphans or something. But Loqueesha had to take Klamydia sightseeing and she talked me into going. I don’t know what Loqueesha was thinking taking Klamydia there—yeah, that makes sense, take a fucking train wreck to a fucking train wreck.

Of course, Shizzangela is wearing her usual tight shirt that shows off her gigantic rack. This one says in big, sparkly letters across her boobs, “ALL ABOARD!” Klamydia’s wearing some bright orange blouse with tassels that says, “In Emergency, Pull Cords,” which I can tell Shizzy wants to steal, only it would never fit her, it’s way too small. If she put it on it would be like trying to shove a cantaloupe into a condom, but she wants it anyway. So already I’m thinking there’s going to be some trouble. But I don’t give a shit, I’m just looking for somewhere I can smoke. I just figured you could smoke on a train, but the annoying train boy, or train steward, or train dick, or whatever he was, tells me I can’t. Really? Like what if I hang out the window, who’s gonna know that it isn’t the train belching all the smoke? How am I supposed to drink if I can’t smoke? I just got on this stupid train and I’m already in a bad mood. And Loqueesha is none too happy either cuz they put us in the Chardonnay car. “Like we’re a bunch of Oakies,” she says. Klamydia doesn’t care, she’s climbed up in the luggage rack and is making choo-choo noises. She’s pretty weird, but Loqueesha told us her mom drank a lot of Barefoot when she was pregnant so Klamydia’s got Feetal Alcohol problems. It’s gonna be a long train ride.

I don’t think I was ever on a train before I went on the Napa Wine Train. Maybe at Disneyland, but that’s not the same, that’s like saying you’ve had wine before but all you drank was Meiomi Pinot Noir, which isn’t wine, really, it’s kinda more like a Hostess Cupcake, you just think you had wine. And why does anybody go to Napa Valley, one of the most famous wine regions in the world, as famous as, like, Champagne or Spumanti, and then ride a train through it? It’s like going to Vegas for the culture. There’s like 200 tasting rooms, and you’re riding around in a steel box like you’re Houdini, or some fucking wine country astronaut gazing out the little window at the Earth and drinking Tang and recycled urine, which I had a glass of at Castello di Amorosa. Plus riding that train is like going around wine tasting with a bunch of strangers piled into your car. Strangers that don’t like you, not that I give a wet Bieber. I mean, the four of us get on that train, the little Asian girl and her friends of a certain color, and Shizzy’s titzillas are all up in everybody’s face introducing themselves, and Loqueesha is carrying a foreign load from drinking rosé all through breakfast to put up with Klamydia building sausage robots, and Klammy is making choo-choo noises, and I can see the other people in the Chardonnay car making stony faces at us like the woman in the rocking chair in that famous old painting, “Kistler’s Mother.” I’m pretty sure nobody wanted us there as soon as we got on. Which makes all of us.

Pretty soon we were chugging up the Valley. So was the train. Haha, good one, Lo! I put the L-O in LOL. I’m actually starting to enjoy myself. The train isn’t going very fast, which is a surprise to me, actually, because Loqueesha told me it was a bullet train through Napa Valley, so I thought we’d be going up and down the Valley faster than divorce attorneys. I’m thinkin’ the ride might last about ten minutes, so I’m drinking wine like it’s ipecac and I’m a runway model for Donna Karan. So are my girls, and now the fun begins. All the people in our Chardonnay car are staring at us, and not just because Shizzy is makin’ up rap songs about the wineries we’re passin’. She’s rappin’ into a bottle of Cabernet like it’s a mic, shit like, “Frankie Ford Coppola/owner of Inglenookie/Here’s an offer you can’t refuse/come eat my cream-filled cookie.” Klamydia is laughin’ so hard she falls out of the luggage rack and breaks wind when she hits the floor, which makes me say, “Hey, don’t worry, that wasn’t a fart, she’s just playing her Duck Horn.” OK, not that funny, but I was pretty lit. Now people are shushing us, which doesn’t go over too big with Loqueesha. “It’s the Napa Valley WINE Train,” she says, “the ‘wine’ part is the point. We’re just havin’ fun.”

Now the wine dick comes over and asks us to keep it down. He’s telling us that if we don’t, he’s going to have to stop the train and have us removed, like we’re skin blemishes that are the wrong color and might be cancerous. I can see Shizzy is pissed, but I get it. Maybe we’re a little loud, but we’re just having fun, not trying to ruin anybody else’s vacation. Everybody was laughin’ at Shizzy’s rap, and Loqueesha was taking pictures with everybody, but I guess there were a few folks that didn’t like it and kept complaining to the wine police.

And, well, fuck, it’s an Asian chick and some black chicks in the whitest of white counties outside of Racist Cop, Idaho. I know, dropping the race card kinda upsets folks in the Napa wine biz because they’ll swear up and down that it wasn’t about us being minorities, it was about us being rude. All these white people, white wine police and white marketing people and white wine writers, talking about how marching a bunch of women of a different color off of their tourist trap wine train into the arms of the local cops they’d called wasn’t about racism at all, it’s because we didn’t behave ourselves. People like us should know better, right? Stay in our place. No, hell, no, it wasn’t racist. They always call the fuckin’ cops to take dangerous people off the train, right? And people sayin’ it can’t be racist because, hey, I’m married to a minority person, so I know racism when I see it. Yeah, marry a sheep and then you’ll stop wearing wool, too, I guess. It’s all bullshit, it was all about my girls being the wrong color, like they’re Negroamaro at a clambake.

They tossed our sexy asses off the train, well, once they got Klamydia out of the luggage rack even though they didn’t have the right baggage claim check for her. The local cops had the sense to see it was stupid, that four slightly buzzy chicks weren’t much of a threat to the community, and they split, though Shizzy has this thing for guys in uniform and she offered the cute one a complimentary cavity search, which she thinks is what dentists do, so luckily the cop declined. The wine train police wouldn’t let us back on the train. We could hear the people in the Chardonnay car clapping when we left, but those smelly old white people probably thought that the clapping would turn the lights on and off, or their pacemakers.

Me and my girls, we’re used to being stared at in wine country. It’s why Shizzy wears those crazy, sparkly shirts—people see those instead of her skin color. I was mad as a proctologist with a Latex allergy, but Shizzy and Loqueesha just shrugged. I guess that says it all.


Don Clemens said...

Barefoot wine and Feetal alcohol problems? You knocked it out of the park!

Mike Dunne said...

When you left the Mount Veeder tasting you said you were going home to write jokes. You weren't kidding!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thanks. Pretty quiet around here...

I felt some Lo Hai Qu coming on and just decided to let her have her say. The Napa Wine Train is relatively old news in the wine blog biz, but that whole ugly affair has been eating at me, for some reason. So I let Lo Hai Qu have her say.

So this wasn't so much satire as it was therapy.

The Mount Veeder tasting is fun, but it was way too hot to taste mountain cabs. It was also too hot to write jokes. As you can tell.

Jim Caudill said...

On behalf of the Mount Veeder Alliance, thank you for leaving the tasting before getting any ideas for a Mount Veeder or Hess Collection blog post, or taking up the suggestion that you write something from you know who, even though he'd been warned. And you didn't even notice that our tasting room staff had your photo and strict instructions to tell you that the tasting room hadn't quite re-opened yet....glad the train was available, Lo Hai Qu was certainly dressed for the #laughingwhilelooped occasion. You think I could get those shirts for our gift shop?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I think it rained on last year's Mount Veeder tasting, and then this year it was nasty hot. God is trying to tell you Mt. Veeder people something. Next year? I'm thinkin' volcano.

I think there are enough stupid T-shirts in wine country. Why do people wear those ugly things, all sparkle and no style? They all basically say, "I'm a tourist with no money." Which might be a better shirt, come to think of it.

Yeah, I noticed your staff pointing at me, but I get that a lot. Usually there's a weapon involved.

gabriel jagle said...

I loved it from the moment I read the title. "White Wine Police" is my new response to people who claim "reverse racism".

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I've been anxious to bring Lo back, but needed a suitable topic. I was a bit reluctant to deal with the NV Wine Train incident as the HoseMaster, but it seemed perfect for Lo. I always enjoy hearing her voice in my head, as I've said before, she's more fearless than I am. And crazier.

The episode in question was, I felt, completely whitewashed. What I write here doesn't matter, won't make things better, or change anyone's mind. But it was a shameful incident, and I felt a strong urge to write about it.

Paul Moe said...

Sorry about off topic, but I came across a new wine book for you to not read and review.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Yeah, that book's been on my radar. Though I often have to consider who I'm lampooning, and, usually, I go after more famous prey. So I'm uncertain if I'll review that book, though I certainly won't read it.

Thanks for thinking of me.

Dave Williams said...

A true classic Ron, thanks for bringing Lo back, she certainly puts the L-O back in LOL. Double points for harpooning the Wine Train douchebags.



Samantha Dugan said...

Whoa, looks like everyone has taken the Warkian approach, "Let's not talk about it" with regards to the wine train thing. Guess I can't say as I'm too surprised, not like it's anything important, like critics or natural vs un-natural wine making. I for one appreciate your, I mean "Lo's" speaking out, calling a spade a spade as it were. But not talking about it, admitting it, that works too....
I love you!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thanks. Lo's voice is enormous fun to write. She's a very real person to me, and I knew that she would be the best to talk about the wine train. Though she's undoubtedly pissed she gets fewer comments than the HoseMaster.

My Gorgeous Samantha,
One of the things I've learned over the years is the common tater burnout factor. They start to sit them out. Maybe it's the subject, maybe it's that they're bored, or maybe they can't think of anything to say. So, of course, they expect me to churn out this crap every week, but feel no obligation to enter the conversation because they're "too busy" or "it doesn't need any comments." It's a form of entitlement, in this most entitled of cultures.

You and I agree that the wine train incident was baldly racist. I wouldn't have written about it, probably, except for the blogging fools who decided it appropriate behavior for the wine train to evict those black women for having fun in perfectly acceptable cultural way, with cops in St. Helena to greet them as they were chased. Did the white people they allegedly threw off their train have the cops called? I doubt it, though I don't know. People see what they want to see, and ignore what they choose to ignore. I can only hope the clowns who thought the train's actions were justifiable, and not racist, read Lo's words and know that her anger is aimed at them. They most certainly wouldn't comment here.

I love you, too, Baby!

gabriel jagle said...


I'm glad you chose to write what you did. I don't know anything about the Napa Valley Wine Train, but it sounds like the type of place where racist shit would happen. This story didn't surprise me at all, although it did make me feel bad about being a winemaker. You are the first wine-writer I've seen that is willing to call it what it is, "shameful", instead of calling it an "unfortunate incident", or something equally gutless. I am sure that my voice is just a drop of water in an ocean of common-taters, but this is my favorite thing you've written.



Ron Washam, HMW said...

Those are kind words. And much appreciated.

"Gutless" describes much of what passes for wine writing. Not that it usually demands guts, but truth-telling, fearlessness, isn't much present. I once worked in Hollywood, and the level of disingenuosness and outright dishonesty, represented as marketing, is as high in the wine biz as it is in show biz. Only it doesn't need to be in the wine biz, like it needs to be in Hollywood. It just is. An incident like the one on the wine train, and my recent run-in with Riedel (which I do not mean to compare on the level of shamefulness), serves to highlight that truth.

Shameful. Not just the incident, but the white wash, and I do mean white white white wash, even more so.

Just make wine, Gabe. Try to stay out of the rest.

Andy Perdue said...

I read it twice just to pick up most of your nuances. Laughed even harder the second time. The cats are giving me a funny look. Brilliant work, my friend.

Divine Miss M said...

Lo could have a new career: naming people. Shizzangela is primo.

David Pierson said...

Ron.. don't know where to begin.. common tater fatigue.. nah.. just don't wanna go on like Bob Henry and burble on about nothing for some google reason.. it was a stupid, totally over react thing to do.. but I just see it, not as a racist thing, but as totally how wine people can't have any fun, gotta conform to hushed, low talk about the wine is so great, etc..
I remember one of the best nights of my life, had this romantic train trip that went from Vancouver to about 25 miles north and back and just fantastic, spectacular scenery and a break on the platform with a jazz band and a mellow ride back.. and my ex told me a cute story about how her daughter had just learned to walk and was fascinated about walking up and down the train, and somebody complained, and she said, I've learned from you not to worry about stuff like that, but at the time I sat down, and Catherine cried till she fell asleep..
If ya ever get a chance. that drive or train trip from Vancouver to Whistler is one of the best in the world.. and that's not flag waving.. just a fact.. once had a laugh with a biz guy in Seattle about how these dough heads say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world and they've never been 25 miles out of their state..
So I gues my only point is, why don't these wine turds learn to lighten up???

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thank you. "Brilliant" is not a word I'm comfortable with. I never feel brilliant. I enjoy the process, the wonderful feeling of creating, and of writing as Lo Hai Qu, but I just try to be odd, original, and, occasionally, funny. I'm glad to have Lo as a character who can speak to this sort of stupidity.

Miss M,
I'm partial to Shizzangela myself, though my favorite all-time name is from my Pulp Fiction Classics--the coroner Avril Cadavril. That still makes me laugh.

Yeah, I get your point. Only, truly, it was racist.

Lighten up? Wine people? Like asking Bob Henry not to link shit ten years out of date. Hopeless.

Jo Diaz said...

Chew on this, Lo Hai Qu: