The local Drive-In opened today, and I thought we could all spend a normal evening together again, finally. We had fun, but the trip was anything but normal. It was just one more funnily unfunny reminder of how much the world really has changed.
The last week has been especially rough, and not on just me. Kay-Bug has pushed back against doing school work harder than ever, the Man-Childe cannot stop tearing things apart and I’ve been such a hag that I can’t even stand my own damn self.
Things have not been pretty …
Luckily, we’re an open family and I’ve always loved the fact that feelings exist in this household. We don’t hide them in closest or brush them under the rug. When something is bothering us, we say it. Sometimes it might not come out right the first time, but we sit down and talk it through.
So although we’ve all felt different feels lately, we’ve navigated our way through it well.
Anyway, when I suddenly thought about the local Drive-In on a whim today, I couldn’t have been more excited. I was so ready to rip off the facemask and have one night of normal fun.
I can be dumb sometimes but I was smart enough to know that if I sobbed from joy when I found out they were open, there were hundreds of other people who did the same. I knew it would be busy. Especially since they’re only open Sat and Sun, only have two screens and only show two movies a night on each screen.
Still … I had a plan!
The movie started at 8:15, so I told everyone we needed to leave the house by seven at the latest to get there and get a spot before it filled up. Everyone agreed…
There’s something wrong with my family. We’re defected. I don’t know what screw they left loose, but we cannot be on time to anything. Never. Not even nearly on time. Like, we will be late and it will be later than fashionably late.
So we finally flew out of the house, piled into the car and headed out to the Drive-In … at 7:45.
No surprise, by the time we got to the drive-in there was a line of cars on each side of the road waiting to get in. If I had to guess, there was at least 60 cars before us and a ton of people already parked. You know, the smart people who arrived at seven …
So we waited …, and the movie started. We were still on the shoulder of the road, waiting to pull into the drive-way. We waited … and flipped through the AM stations, trying to catch at least the audio of the first half of the movie. We finally got to the ticket booth at 8:20.
We pull up to this small shack in the middle of an over-grown field. The inside of the tiny, plywood booth was dimly lit and held a chair and a cash register. The guy’s standing there in a facemask and rubber gloves, and it all just felt like a deleted scene from E.T.
Then … then he leans forward and says, “well, I don’t have any spots left for movie two.”
I looked at the Man-Child who was staring blankly ahead at the man as if they were in some unspoken staring contest. In pure ventriloquist form, he utters a few words without moving his lips away from the eerie grin he is wearing. Then he turns to look at me while still stretching his face to the limit with his fake smile and says, “he doesn’t have any spots left for movie two.” Then chuckles like it was funny. Like it was some inside joke between him and mask-face.
I know dumbass; I heard him!
I chuckled lightly back, like I was enjoying the joke as well, and thought about the time bomb in the backseat.
It was 8:25 at night; we’d only eaten a light dinner because we’d planned to pig out on snacks, and I’d talked this whole damn adventure up to get her excited so she would want to go because I wanted to leave the house. NOW, after sitting in line entertaining her for almost a half hour while trying to keep her mind off the fact the movie had already started, this guy was telling me they had no spots left?
You could clearly see the line of cars congesting traffic for a quarter of a mile in both directions. You HAD to have realized at some point that there were only ten spaces left and 100 cars waiting to get in. WHY wouldn’t you’ve either put a sign up near the road that said “sold out” or had someone standing out there informing people before they drove into a one way drive-way that left no way of turning to leave?
“Oh,” I chuckled “no spots left in movie two, huh?”
I could have screamed. Then a light bulb moment …
There were only two movies playing. One was Onward, a children’s movie, and the other was some adult horror movie. I’d assumed because he could see the six-year-old in the back seat, with her fluffy pink pillow and blanket, that he’d realized we were here to see Onward and not the horror movie. Then I realized we were talking about Masky over here … perhaps he didn’t realize this?
I was right.
Movie two was the horror movie, and he still had “just a few” spots left for movie one. I so badly wanted to ask what the plan was for the other hundred cars in line behind us, but I figured I should just count my blessings we weren’t being turned around.
Inside was just as bad. They had marked out parking spots with little, three-inch tuffs of what looked like pipe cleaners and they were not super easy to see in the mud and grass at night. Since others had obviously had the same problem, and had not parked directly in between the pipe cleaners, it was hard to determine where “every-other” spot was. We found a spot at the end of a row that was pretty perfect though.
You had to stay in your vehicle or directly next to your vehicle. You couldn’t spread out on the ground around it like you normally would have. You couldn’t come as a group or visit with people in other cars. All of this seemed pretty common sense to me anyways and we would have done that regardless, but it made for a spooky scene at the drive-in.
If you left your car, you had to wear a mask. We had skimped on dinner, so we donned our facial-attire and hit the snack stand. It was way over-priced but delicious. We even went back for more pizza and in hind-sight should have just bought a whole one because I spent more on six slices than I would have on eight, but that was my fault.
I won’t lie, it was a little creepy sitting in a dark drive-in and seeing nobody outside besides a few people walking around in facemasks. I think the weirdest part is how normal it’s become. I don’t notice the people with masks anymore; I notice the people who don’t have them on.
Having to stay inside the car was bittersweet, but it meant Kay-Bug had to cram in up front with me and Daddy. She ended up sitting on my lap most of the time and despite the M&Ms melting under my ass and the Pepsi she dumped into my lap; it was awesome to snuggle and watch a movie with her.
We left a few minutes before the movie ended because it was already almost ten and I didn’t feel like sitting in both the traffic leaving and the onslaught of cars coming for the next show.
Although it was a hilarious cluster-bleep, I have to give the place credit where credit is due. There was almost no uncomplicated way to open their doors and deal with the surge of people who would go anywhere if it meant getting out of the house. They did a wonderful job of making the rules clear and concise, maintaining a distance between everyone and trying to give everyone a fun night out amid uncertainty.
For that I have to say thank you. Thank you for being open tonight so I could enjoy a movie with my favorite people in the entire world. Thank you for braving the storm so I could sit under the stars with my baby and enjoy a beautiful spring evening. You guys rock!