So a while ago I mentioned that we were watching Lodge 49, the short-lived comedy-drama set in, of all places, a Masonic*-type lodge up in Long Beach. The show only ran for two seasons**, so even at our snail’s-pace approach to bingeing TV shows, we already finished it. Towards the end, most of the regulars plus a few guest stars piled into a vehicle for a road trip to Mexico in search of a stolen set of ancient scrolls that putatively contained long-sought alchemical secrets. But while the characters were focused on obtaining the scrolls, my wife was focused on something else.
Wife: “Wait, what are they riding in? Is that the inside of a car?”
Me: “That’s a carpeted van.”
Wife: “A what?”
Me: “A carpeted van.”
Wife (beat): “Are you making that up?”
I assured my wife that I was not, in fact, making up the existence of carpeted vans.
Me: “No, carpeted vans are a thing. I’ve seen them.”
Wife: “You’ve seen them? In person?”
Me (pause): “Well, I don’t remember exactly, but I know I have. Maybe it was the Hellbound Train.”
Wife: “What’s the Hellbound Train?”
The Hellbound Train was a van that used to tool around the village in upstate New York where I grew up. On one side, it had a painting of train tracks through space, on which a steam locomotive was running (presumably with lots of smoke and fire around it); on the other side, it had a painting of an armored skeletal warrior holding a sword. And somewhere in there were the words Hellbound Train, thus giving the van its name. If you were to take, say, a 1970s psychedelic heavy metal album cover, and then were to wave a magic wand over it to turn it into a vehicle, you would probably end up with the Hellbound Train***.
Wife: “I still don’t understand why anyone would want to carpet the inside of a van.”
Wife: “Why would you need soundproofing?”
Me: “Because vans are noisy inside?
Sure. Vans ride noisy. That’s one reason. Of course, there’s always this one:
Anyway, despite my assurances, my wife remained unconvinced that this whole concept was not a fiction.
Wife: “Okay, I have to look this up.”
Me: “All right.” (pauses Lodge 49 while the investigation is in progress)
So at that point my wife went off to Google to find out why on earth anyone would want to carpet the inside of a van; but in this quest, she was unsuccessful in the time allotted to the project. Although her search did indeed confirm that I was not making it up ― that people really did, and do, carpet the insides of vans ― all she could find were instructions for doing so, not reasons.
Wife: “I don’t want a how-to, I want a why-would-you!”
Needless to say, my wife was dissatisfied with this outcome****, but apparently there are some things that even Google can’t explain.
* Note that I have no actual idea what a Masonic lodge is like.
** Which is over one season longer than Firefly. Mutter mutter.
*** Sadly, the Hellbound Train‘s ornate paint job grew rustier and rustier over the years, and presumably, by this time, has been reduced to a ruddy smear.
**** It’s entirely possible that somewhere in these videos they explain why you would want to carpet your van, but we had a show to finish and didn’t watch any of them for very long.