Saturday, June 14, 2003

Drive-In



...let's go out to the lobby and have ourselves a treat!


They do it all on the radio now, 88.1 FM, lowest on the dial on a three-block frequency. You can keep the windows closed, so the bugs stay out, and the cigarette the guy in the car next to you is smoking doesn't leak in. The windshield and the rear window fog up, but you can run the air a bit to fix it.

And it's not paved, like it is in the movies. You pull into your chosen space atop a tiny ridge that runs like a single rainbow color -- not any rainbow stripe like blue, maybe, or indigo, but green, because it's all green except where the line for the burger stand begins, a bit of tar in the middle of nowhere leading into the hot yellow heat lamps, the nacho-and-fries temptation, next week's movie posters, and Iris, the cashier who just graduated.

The old tin squawkbox stands are there, but they merely mark the parking spaces. The speakers that used to dangle from window to pole by telephone wire have long since been ripped off. If you get out of your car during the movie, you can't hear the dialogue so good.

The Northfield Drive-In is one of the last fifty drive-ins in the country, and it is one of the great perks of my existence. Technically, it isn't in Northfield, or at least not entirely -- calling for showtimes is a state-to-state call from our home 6 miles away; according to the squat stone state line marker beside us as we waited in line to pay your seven per, the screen is actually split almost perfectly down the middle between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

For seven bucks a person you get a double feature, weekends early in the season, every night but Monday after the public schools finally get out; triple features on long weekends and all the people-watching you can stand while you wait for God to turn the lights down and the projectionist to begin his first reel. Before-and-after they show authentic fifties-era "Intermission" advertisements for products that still exist and can be purchased in their lovely snack bar, like the slightly phallic Dilly Pickles, and Pic, the original burning coil bug repellent, as sold to us by dying cartoon mosquitoes with high-pitched voices. The wooden wall of whitewash that serves as screen obscures the sunset and reflects headlights far too easily but in the right time of summer the moon rises stage right about midway through the first feature.

Tonight we saw Bruce Almighty. It was light and cute, a solid vehicle for all involved but certainly nothing Oscar-worthy; Steve Carell was an added bonus. We ate sandwiches with brie and ham and thin apple slices that Darcie packed and treated ourselves to fries and sodas from Iris. The baby watched for a while but squiggled for most of it all, but she's cute too, and we love her, and we're adjusting.

We left before The Italian Job, the song over the credits fading into static as we drove home into the full bright moon, the baby finally asleep. Can't wait for Finding Nemo. Oh, and the Hulk, next week. Hooray for summer, at last.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:43 PM |

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