Saturday, May 19, 2012

friday night at the drive-in

i promised nick earlier this week i'd take him to the drive-in tonight.  and off we went soon as i got home from work.  the boy was jumping out of his skin with excitement.  i will say, i'd never thought that the sac 6 drive-in theater would last, so far, into the second decade of the 21st century, and that i'd be sharing my love of the drive-in experience, and of movies, with my son. 

we got there about and hour before sunset.  i knew the place would be crowded and i wasn't wrong.  as we nestled in a parking space one row before the giant screen i turned to look at the huge line of vehicles waiting to pay their admittance fee.  the make-up of people at the drive-in really hasn't changed that much over the decades for their were mostly families out for cheap entertainment, and young people doing what young people do, either in couples or small groups.

the vehicles sure the hell are eclectic ranging from classic car club members driving their early '70s models muscle cars to a dilapidated truck with a camper that looked like it has seen many hard miles belonging to a young family.  the bumper business for movie theaters is the concession stand and at the sac 6 the place is filled with hungry movie-goers who feast on the gnarliest looking pizza, burgers, nachos and hot dogs.  god bless you if you have the nerve to take relish for your hot dog from the communal relish container that sits on the condiment cart looking like it could punch you in the nose were it a human being cruising for a fight.

still, the snack bar is the heart of the drive-in.  that's where the people hang out.  there is even a bounce house for the kids, video games for those who like that sort of thing -- and nick does love that sort of thing --, and slides and swing sets.  before we left nick made friends with a young boy and they played on the slide well after midnight.

but it got even more adorable.  because the car directly to our right belonged to a family of one of nick's classmates, a little girl, who i think has a crush on nick.  and nick i think has a crush on her.  that would explain why he got all goo goo eyed and show-offy before her.  the girl and her sisters surrounded nick and gave him hugs.  they then took their lawn chairs and set them next to nick's outdoor chair.  when it got chilly the girl even shared her blanket with nick.  they both were under the same blanket.  god it was cute!

after the film i chatted with the girls' father about movies, then politics.  as politely as we could because our political views were very different.  even so, he was a nice man and a pleasure to talk with.  and surer evidence that there is no 'us vs. them' but a 'us and us'.  there are some 'us's' who share our own beliefs and goals and so on, and there are some 'us's' who are vastly different but when you boil it down we still have 'all of us' in this shit together.

my only gripe about the drive-in experience nowadays is the lack of playing intermission shorts.  i know, those days are gone.  but i know that up in the projection booth are cans of film with those old intermission shorts i remember when i was nick's age.  youtube has scores of these intermission shorts.  thank the maker!  10 years ago i was jonesing for these short commercials and now they are only a few mouse clicks away.  and yet there are a couple of locally produced shorts that if you grew up in sac, went to the sac 6 drive-in, you'd know these shorts.  they are tattooed upon the grey matter.  one is for pizza when an old man sings about 'mushy roomy room sauce'.  i've googled the phrase in hope of finding that short.  so far the only hits i get are a few local memories and my own blog for i've written about these sorts of things many times.

why bitch.  the snack bar is the same.  people come to the drive-in because it is still inexpensive and can last all night if you want.  the world has changed.  it is changing still.  the car culture of yore is gone.  gone with it are the drive-ins.  but for the time being we have what i've written about before, the happiest place on earth: the drive-in.


At 5:38 AM, Blogger Alex Gildzen said...

how lucky you are to still have a drive-in. & to be able to share this antique joy with yr son.


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