Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm not gonna stay here with you in this Sin Wagon!

I have a few strange dreams. I'm not talking about the recurring ones I have of all my teeth falling out or being back in college during finals week and realizing I've never gone to one class all year. I'm talking about actual "what I want to do with my life" dreams. One of these is to own a little drive-in, with a '50s-style diner next door. Why do I dream this? I don't know. Maybe I've seen Grease one too many times. Maybe I have more of an entrepreneurial spirit than I think I do. Or maybe I just want to go back to a simpler time, and take a few carloads of folks with me.

Of course the biggest stumbling block to this dream (we're not counting the fact that I have no money) is the popular decline of drive-in theaters. I still haven't quite figured out what happened with that whole thing. I mean, sure, I know all about the socio-cultural hoo-hah that contributed to the fall of the drive-in. I know all about the rise of multiplex cinemas and the advent of video rentals. Still, there's never been a time when I've mentioned going to the drive-in to someone, or they've mentioned it to me, that everyone's eyes didn't light up and a collective "oooooooh...good idea!" was spoken. It seems that everyone loves the drive-in. It's like pizza or apple pie, automatically conjuring up good feelings and rarely something people aren't in the mood for.

The great thing about going to the drive-in is that it's so much more than just going to a movie. It's a social experience. Whether you go with family, a date or a pickup full of friends, it's about spending time with people out under a blanket of stars, smelling that bizarrely delightful mixture of popcorn, perfume and exhaust fumes. Where else can you have that kind of simple fun? If the movie sucks, you can just sit and talk and load up on junk from the concession stand. (Or if you're with a date, it's make-out city baby! C'mon, nobody's watching!) Then you can laugh about how bad it was on the way home. You never hear people filing out of the drive-in mumbling about how they just wasted two hours of their lives, as so often happens at the cinema. In a theater, you have nothing to focus on but what's on the screen. You have to just sit there, silent, staring straight ahead, fighting the urge to strangle the loud whisperers and chair-kickers surrounding you, and waiting for your ass to fall asleep. Granted, you go to a movie to actually see the movie, but you can still take in a movie at a drive-in. You can just be a lot more relaxed doing it.

With the big love of everything retro these days, drive-ins seem to be making a comeback, albeit a minor one. There is only one drive-in within a 20-mile radius of Pittsburgh, which is The Dependable. Oddly enough, back when there were a ton of drive-ins around here, The Dependable showed strictly porn movies. Alas, I was too young at that time to join the rows of bouncing cars...but I imagine it was a good time. The place must be doing fairly good business now because it looks like they're back to charging per person. They used to have "$5 Carload" specials, which was awesome because you didn't have to pull the old hide-in-the-trunk bit. (Someone tried to get me to do that one time and I nearly had a claustrophobic panic attack.) So, hopefully the demand for drive-in movies will stay on the upswing and maybe a new one or two will pop up around here. Then I will have all the motivation I need to focus on my dream. Well, I have to achieve dream #1 first, which is to either hit the lottery or marry a rich man who will do whatever I ask. Then I can move on to dream #2: running my very own little slice of '50s Heaven.


The Everglades said...

Dallas just got a new drive-in theater and it is awesome. I've seen four movies in the last three months out there. The sound is great because you tune your radio to a preset station and you get it in surround sound in your cabin. And the food is always so good and so cheap.

Believe it or not, the drive-in theater actually made Saharah bearable. But just barely.

Like you, I am trying to win the lottery as well.


Rowan said...

Ah...the drive-in. We used to go about once a month to the one in Corpus Christi Tx (which I believe finally closed down for good) and catch their double-feature horror movies. It was only $3 a carload and we always had a great time!

Cincysundevil said...

That is a super idea. I think with this movement in the States towards everything becoming family friendly (of which I am not a fan) that a movie theater where you can take your kids to is a great idea. There are like 3 or 4 in the area nearby and they all do pretty well. Thye are always packed with truckloads of folks with kids. Definitely a great idea!

Anonymous said...

LOVE, love, love, the picture :)



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