Monday, August 24, 2009

Drive In

Ever been to a drive-in movie? Used to be I wouldn't even have to ask that question. Who hasn't? Well, turns out lots of people. I hadn't seen one since grade school. They are some sort of relic, usually abandoned swathes of corrugated asphalt by the side of the freeway. But not in San Luis Obispo!

We have a running drive-in here, and I'm glad to say that we took a chance and went to see a movie this past weekend. If you have one in your town, GO, while the weather is good. We parked next to a friend, and for $16, our family of four was treated to a double feature. The house was nearly full, with families and friends sitting in the backs of open minivans or pickup trucks. We packed in a 6-pack of beer and some chips for the kids and bought popcorn from the snack bar at the theater.

When I was in high school, we used to have our keg parties out at a place called West Lane. It was an abandoned drive-in, just outside of town. A perfect place to gather and drink, socialize and do powerbrakes and donuts in our cars. The parking lot was a forest of radioless metal bars at the edge of the of our headlights' glow, with tall weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement. The ticket booth was a ghost of happier, busier times, and the snack bar building was a burned-out, paneless cinderblock box full of old mattresses and the remnants of campfires and God knows what else.

Not so at the Sunset. The parking lot was filled with neat rows of cars. The square building in the center was plain, to be sure, but when the doors were rolled open, it was a modern, brightly lit snack bar, filled with lit movie posters and the smell of buttery popcorn. The staff was cheerful, the candy was stocked, and the bathrooms were modern, clean and comfortable. I was astonished, but why should I be? Just the amazing contrast between this place and the abandoned one, I suppose. This place was alive!

Check your local paper, the link below or Google and find yourself a drive-in movie to go and see. Take a chance - it's a fun, cheap and nostalgic way to spend an evening.

Drive-In Theater

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