Friday, June 09, 2006

what i did on my day off

last week, there was some talk of going to a drive-in somewhere in the area. what a great idea! it seemed to good to be true -- but why wouldn't it be, especially in a small town like this? eventually we talked about it for so long, somebody came up with a plan, made the phone calls for times and directions, and all of a sudden, it was our day off and all the particulars were in order. it was becky the wig lady and sam the dresser and i, and then tristan the drummer and michael who plays hipockets came along, too. that's only two cars -- an important detail if you don't want to sit in the back seat to watch the flick.

becky and sam had never been to a drive-in. i don't think tristan had, either but michael probably did. i hadn't been to a drive-in since my uncles took me and my brothers to see blacula when i was a little kid. after that, i was terrified of vampires and of being left alone in the dark until my uncle jackie explained that it was mathmatically impossible for vampires to exist. by his guesstimation, everybody would end up biting everyone in the whole wide world on the neck in a matter of weeks. that number included babies, too. and really, how plausible is that? (he's kind of brilliant, my uncle jackie.) after he sat me down and broke that down to me, i wasn't afraid of bela lugosi or william marshall or of being left alone in the dark any more. later, i remember seeing blacula on pee-wee's playhouse as the king of cartoons and i was a little scared but only for a second. i loved him, really. he was so beautiful and elegant and obviously he was a shakespearean actor in his prime.

i wasn't really interested in over the hedge. i wanted to see the da vinci code. as it turns out, the first movie was quite wonderful and the last one was a real clunker. more on that later.

it was cold and rainy (in june!!) but they said they'd show the movie after dusk no matter what. two movies and only $7 to get in. wow. a cute little old man took our money and gave us chocolate covered mint discs a la peppermint patties but thinner, along with our ticket stubs. in the darkness, we thought that they were some kind of token to start the machine for the sound thingy that hangs onto the window but he told us to tune our car radios to a certain channel if we didn't want to use it. there was a collective "aaaaaaawwww!" in the car when we all realized they were candy.

i didn't know what kind of food they'd have, so i brought along a gigantic bag of chee-tos and a bottle of organic berry juice. i shouldn't have bothered. they had hot dogs, hamburgers, onion rings, french fries, bushels of popcorn (the big one was $4 with free refills all night) and all kinds of candy and soda pop and what-not. it was very mom & pop in there, like someone was cooking all this stuff out of their kitchen. and the girls who worked there wore these really cute outfits. i had to have a very good hot dog with german mustard (they're real big on hot dogs/sausages and german mustards up here, for some reason) to get me in the mood for the double-feature.

imagine -- this place had been in business for more than 50 years. i completely and utterly loved it. we slowly drove through the mud and sludge until we found the just-right spot and we got there early enough to park next to each other. the little refreshment stand fit snugly below the screen and was completely unobtrusive. surprising, because there was so much stuff in it and it was actually bigger than it looked.

becky had brought something to sit on the grass with and a small blanket but it was all too muddy for that. thankfully there were picnic tables on either side of the refreshment stand. she and michael sat at one of them through most of the first flick but it was all too cold for me. unfortunately, i left my parka at home. i took my sandals off and let my feet thaw out in tristan's car. he was sweet enough to keep turning the heat on and off. sam bounced back and forth between the car and the picnic table, finally settling comfortably in the backseat. somewhere after the first flick, it got too cold for michael and becky and they retreated to his car during intermission. tristan was so sweet. when we all settled in at the beginning of the night in our different locales, he felt badly that all of us couldn't be in one big car, all together.

this is what it looked like when we first got there but pretty soon it was dark and we were surrounded by cars. (i know it doesn't look like it but the screen is massive.)

i have to admit it: as we reclined in our seats and i ate yet another cheese puff, i couldn't help but look over at tristan and wish that he were my friend, who was probably working his brains out in the lower east side at that very moment. he would probably love to go to a drive-in with me. i could make really good things to eat and we could go somewhere in jersey, far enough away from the city to make it colorful and interesting. i did a little research when all of this talk about drive-ins was flying through the air backstage and found the coolest website that gave me so much detail and history. (i love the internet!) apparently, there's been a revival of drive-ins all over the country. and why not? it should be the fun cool cheap kitchy thing to do in the summertime. maybe if i learn how to drive before the end of the summer, i could surprise my friend one day by renting a car and taking him to a driveway somewhere in the middle of jersey. i wouldn't tell him where we were going, of course.

of course ralph would love this, too.

in the meantime, maybe we'll all go back to the drive-in before i leave for nyc. if we do, here's what will be playing.

and about the movies i saw.

i thought that over the hedge was going to be a little too cutesy and play itself out like a one-note samba but in spite of the well-worn plotline it was actually funny, with some pretty bizarre unexpected moments that were a real hoot. a kiddie movie that can entertain the adults. i love animation, anyway. thumbs up.

the da vinci code had a great premise and there were moments of real intrigue but it was looooong and wordy and cerebral and although most (if not all) of what they said about jesus and mary magdalene and how the Bible came to be was complete rubbish, it's especially annoying to watch because people are seeing it in the movie, reading it in the book and taking it as fact. people aren't interested in the truth. they're interested in a truth that they're comfortable with, one that justifies whatever they want to believe and makes them feel good. still and all, i'm glad i saw it. now i'm going to read the book. isn't the book always better than the movie? i'm giving this a thumbs down -- but only if you have to pay $12 to see it. hey -- i only paid $3.50.

it was soooo nice, to sit there in the darkness, laughing and whispering and all. the cool of the night was genuinely enjoyable on a whole other level when my bare feet were so toasty-warm. i remember thinking: there really are some things that new york city can't give me. this is definitely one of them. and i love this. for some reason, that made me love it even more.

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