Sometimes, I swear there is TOO much excitement in my life and last night’s visit to the drive-in only proves it.
I’ll be honest and admit that I love to go to the drive-in movies where you can sit in or by your car and watch a movie on a gigantic big screen. It’s great. We live somewhat close to one, and try to go two to three times per summer on a Saturday night. Last night’s schedule looked somewhat promising, so we went.
Now, in the past we usually just went in our station wagon and all watched through the windshield, but back about a year or so ago, we bought this older pickup that had a bed just big enough for my husband to move his kayak to the water without having to strap it to the top of the car. Other than that, we hardly ever use the thing. BUT, last night, we thought it would be a great car to take to the drive in. Put camp chairs and blankets in the back. Perfect.
Well, not so perfect, as it would happen, there is no slider on the back window of the truck for us to be able to hear the radio (there are no speakers on the poles at this place, it all comes through the radio). No problem, I said, we can just put batteries into a portable radio. Oh wait, we had no batteries. Not to worry, we could stop by the store and get them. When I took inventory of what sizes and how many we needed, my jaw almost dropped. Six Ds, and three AAs. That’s crazy, but off we went to the store.
Hoping to save time, I inserted batteries into the radio while driving down the road. All to no avail. I have no idea why, but for some reason, they just didn’t work. (Of course, because that is my luck. And yes, they were put in right. LOL) By the time we finished at the store, we were running a bit late and became worried that we’d missed the beginning. Not so. We got there right at the time it was scheduled to start, scoured for an empty spot among the throngs of people then scrambled to get our things set it. Then waited.
We waited, and waited, and waited. Thirty minutes passed. Then forty five. By the time it had been an hour, we made a trip to the concession stand, noticing that a few cars were leaving.
After an unusual amount of time ordering nachos and popcorn, we made our way back across the parking area, this time long lines of cars were everywhere. Well, not everywhere, there were several still in lawn chairs, waiting.
Another hour later, I had FINALLY convinced my husband that it was time to go. It was two hours past the time the movie was to start, if they were STILL having technical difficulties, it was time to go. And that jinxed us. Just as I got my camp chair into its bag, the screen came to life and cheers erupted from the crowd of less than 100 cars that had stayed. We set back up and Bob tried to fix the radio. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get ours to stay on without the taillights coming on–so we had had to settle for hearing someone else’s from a distance. Thirty minutes in, we hadn’t heard much and Bob attempted to turn on the radio in our truck again. Even with the windows down, and our back to them, it still had to be more sound than we were currently getting, right?
A few minutes later, Bob hopped back into the bed of the truck, the faint sound of our radio floating to our ears. It wasn’t much, but it was some. Still not enough to hear all of the lines, though. Oh well, it was about making memories and being there, so the four of us continued to watch and catch lines when we could. Then all of the sudden it felt like something was happening. Something shifted… Moved… Rolled! Yes, the truck was actually ROLLING! Thanks be to God that my youngest son had been sitting about three feet from the side of the truck when it began rolling and without hesitation, I was able to grab my oldest before he gave into panic and jumped down. Clutching him for dear life, I was vaguely aware that my husband had jumped down, but cowering on the floor of the bed of the truck and watching down the end of the lowered tailgate as we rolled across two empty rows of parking areas and straight toward a white van, the truck picking up speed (not much but enough to be concerned–probably moving at about 10 miles per hour) the closer we got, the faster we moved and the more panic I felt. Faster and faster we rolled toward that van until we were so close I couldn’t see the wheels or the bumper and now the headlights of the van. We were that close. Then suddenly, we came to an abrupt halt, then started rolling forward again.
He’d made it! We had been mere seconds and only a foot or two from colliding with another car, but we were saved. Believe me, it was not by some small miracle. We stayed another forty minutes or so before our kids fell asleep and I convinced Bob I’d had enough excitement for the night.
So, other than an amusing (and unsettling story) for my kids to regale their friends with, I learned a very important lesson (and not just that one should always ensure the emergency brake is on while at the drive-in). See, I’ve never had a carriage accident, nor a close encounter in any of my books and now, if I ever write such a scene, I do believe I know exactly the kind of panic one might feel as the scene is unfolding. Experience, sometimes is one of the most powerful tools a writer can possess. While some spend years in the classroom perfecting rules of proper English and fine-tuning writing craft, others rely less on formal training and cling more to personal experience and/or emotions to tell their stories. Neither is right nor wrong, it’s a personal preference, and I undoubtedly fall into the latter category.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, and I cannot be thankful enough for the technical difficulties that cleared out 80% of the patrons or that could have ended very differently.
All right, enough of me, I have some writing that needs to get done today AND I need to finish listening to Her Sudden Groom to approve for an audiobook!