Last year, very soon after completing my road research in Romania and Moldova, I wrote this post literally giving away the greatest reality TV concept of all time, that being following around a Lonely Planet author. Bafflingly, no one has scooped up the idea yet, probably because it was so embarrassingly good that humiliated network executives sent all their reality TV writers in for mandatory full lobotomies and they’re all still in recovery, re-learning how to send emails.
Now Tuscany is no Romania and Moldova, but that doesn’t mean that following me around still wouldn’t make great TV. I’ve been on the road for a bit over two weeks and have done/suffered the following:
• Driven about 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) on “autostrada” roads that are barely wider than the average bike lane in the US
• Been yelled at by Italian men who spent 45 minutes carefully coifing their head and facial hair that morning, when my car blocked their way for four minutes
• Gotten a cold
• Been lost for 30 minutes inside the San Francesco Monastery in Terna (in my defense, it’s a really big place, with “exit” signs that point to dead ends – actually, that would make a great reality TV show)
• Gotten food poisoning
• Gotten bedbugs
• Been lost 217 times
• Spent two hours and drove 60 kilometers to find a sculpture park 12 kilometers outside of Siena
• Insulted the mothers of Italy’s road signage crew 94 times
• Walked 19 miles in one day entirely within the Siena city limits
• Drunk a cumulative eight bottles of wine
• Slept an average of 6.96 hours per night
• Visited 35 cities
• Eaten one kebab
• Spent a cumulative five hours looking for parking spots
• Took the lord’s name in vain 354,205 times
• Spent 10 minutes trapped in an airport parking lot because I couldn’t figure out how to use the auto-pay dealie that had just one button and no directions
• Slept in the same bed two nights in a row on just one occasion
• Spoken to two native English speakers
• Had to pull over and spend five minutes figuring out how to turn off the rear windshield wiper in my rental car
• Committed 1,042,586 Italian grammatical errors
• Been delayed by road closures due to the same amateur bike road race three times on the same day, in three different towns, for a cumulative two and a half hours
• Narrowly avoided 12 car accidents
• Paid zero bribes
• Been offered three bribes
And that’s just the stuff I can remember and/or prove. This gig is like a hybrid of “The Amazing Race”, “Survivor” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” And the beauty is that there’s no shortage of real-life drama, so there’s no need for producers to dream up and execute wacky “challenges” and “penalties” and “disasters”. It’s already there! You can’t write this stuff! And have I mentioned my awesome booty? We’re talking O.J. sentencing Nielsen numbers every week.
It couldn’t be any simpler, just send three camera crews to follow me around for a month (yes, three, any less and they’d drop dead from exhaustion trying to keep up with me with all that equipment) and it’ll be the best unscripted TV you’ll ever see in your lives. Swear to god. And if it ever gets dull, they can just slip me a bottle of wine and then dare me to juggle a bunch of dangerous stuff. Now that’s good TV.
In other news, I have nowhere to live as of May 1st. Seriously, I got nothing. And precious little time to search. I need to live in Italy and I need always-on, high-speed internet at home and that’s about my only criteria. A house-sitting or caretaking gig would be ideal, otherwise I can only pay bargain basement rent. I need a place for May and June at minimum, maybe longer if the deal is appealing enough. If you have any leads, please pass them on.