One of the all-time greatest pleasures of a warm spring night is going to the drive-in movies. Have you ever been? It is the shizz. You can bring lawn chairs, or sit in your car, or pop the hatch and recline on beanbag chairs under sleeping bags in the back. The sheer novelty of watching a movie outside is mind-blowing for kids. The snack bar is full of delicious junk that is filthy bad for you. There are always old cartoons, and asinine 1960's intermission bits, and frequently a contest of some kind. I've even surmised that you can get away with smoking grass at the drive-in.
That's what we did last night (minus the grass, what do you take us for?). Our friends Aimee and Jim brought Friend the Girl and Juicy Boy, and we took Nature Girl along with Mao and Zhou. Loaded up the minivan with the beanbags and the sleeping bags and the lawn chairs, and headed to the Bengies Drive-in for a double feature of Speed Racer (fast, colorful and unintelligible, just like the old cartoons that we love) and Indiana Jones (kind of disappointing, though it's nice to see Karen Allen hasn't aged a day).
Every summer, the first time we go to the drive-in, we'll read the owner's handmade signs about how EVERYONE must READ the HOUSE RULES BEFORE they EXIT their CAR, and we kind of giggle. The RULES are handed to you in a four-page brochure as you enter. We'll read a few of the RULES out loud to each other and reminisce about the times we've been threatened with expulsion in the past.
That's right. We're rule breakers.
Once, when Mao was three and woke up during the second feature needing to pee real bad? I scooped him up and raced for the restroom. WITHOUT putting his shoes back on. I was stopped, berated, threatened with expulsion, and ultimately sent back to the car to put his shoes on (by then, of course, I had to let him pee in the grass next to the car - he would never have made it back to the restroom).
Once I took some pictures of the kids playing on the playground in front of the giant outdoor screen. That's right.
Once the poor kid at the gate had to confiscate the bottle of Poland Spring I was drinking, because I wouldn't pay the $7 "outside food" fee for a 95-cent bottle of water.
And last night? Oh baby, last night we FLAUNTED those rules. Let me count the ways:
SHOES MUST BE WORN AT ALL TIMES BY ALL PERSONS. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Do NOT carry shoeless children.
1. I let the kids take their shoes off when they were snuggled down in the back of the minivan with me. What? They were digging into my legs!
Lift gates & doors CAN NOT BE RAISED higher than the top clearance.
2. We allowed the minivan hatch to rise above the level of the roof. In all fairness, we didn't do this until the second feature, and I made Bob walk back to the line of cars behind us and make sure that we weren't blocking anyone's view. Still.
You MAY NOT PHOTOGRAPH or VIDEOTAPE, or RECORD in ANY way on the premises. Please do not attempt to skirt this rule, the media WILL BE CONFISCATED, and you will leave without a refund. See FAQ page for all of the reasons.
This is a necessary measure for many reasons. One is my own protection from scoundrels who use them for profit. Another is simply for the courtesy of other folks around you. NO EXCEPTIONS. Do not in any way attempt.
Once more for clarity: If we see any sort of camera, video recorder, or cell phone with the capabilities of taking pictures, you and the party with you, will leave immediately without a refund. NONE of these DEVICES may be used AT this theatre FOR ANY REASON. See FAQ page for all of the reasons.
3. I brought my camera. Again! I know! I pussed out on taking pictures though, I'm real attached to my new camera and if one of those poor Essex teenagers tried to confiscate it I'd go to jail for assault and ruin everyone's evening.
Obscene language or profanity WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
4. I cussed. I did.
NO RUNNING. Go with the kids when they leave the car!
5. We let the kids run to the playground. I believe Bob and Jim even let the kids run when they were AT the playground!
And my number-one super-flagrant VIOLATION of the multicolored hypercapitalized reiterative boldface Bengies rules:
Outside food and beverages are restricted from the premises. We will offer this option: You must purchase a permit to bring outside food &/or beverage at the box office BEFORE YOU ENTER the theatre. As per conditions of the permit, You may not share food or drink with persons who came in other vehicles. PLEASE NOTE: The cost of the OUTSIDE FOOD AND BEVERAGE PERMIT is $7.00.
6. I smuggled in a bag of sunflower seeds.
And you wonder why I keep this blog anonymous!