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Leif Zurmuhlen

Itís summertime, and with that comes barbeques, mini-golf, camping, fishing, outdoor concerts at SPAC and yes, for many, drive-in movies.

And although many people attend the drive-in maybe once or twice each summer, it is clear that there is a big difference between the once-a-year people, like myself, and those who consider this summertime event a weekend tradition. If you are like me, you may feel like a drive-in movie amateur compared to the drive-in connoisseurs.

From the moment that you pull into the lot, you can tell who means business. One way to separate the men from the boys is by the size of the speaker that can be seen either stacked in the back of oneís pickup truck or hanging out of the trunk. The more experienced the moviegoer, the bigger the speaker.

As for me, my car radio is broken, and I am left wrestling with the portable speaker that either doesnít work or wonít clip onto my car window. Once I do get the speaker adjusted just so, the dilemma begins: It is either too hot to stay in the car with the windows closed, which is what is required for the speaker to stay on the window, or there are too many mosquitoes getting in with the windows down.

Which brings us to the next clear difference between the regulars and errr . . . the people like me. Not only do the regulars have sleeping bags, coolers, lawn chairs and snacks galore, but theyíve also remembered to bring citronella candles and bug spray. While I am hot and scratchy (stuck in my car because I forgot to bring a chair, or even a blanket), batting away the bugs, the regulars are calm and comfy and bug-free

Once the feature is about to start, those in the know start honking their horns. I am not sure if this is to warn those in the restroom that they are about to miss the beginning of the movie or if it is just a tradition, but without fail, everyone joins in. Once the honking stops, the movie starts. This is when I try to hone in on those with the experience and expertise. I may not get their beach chairs, but I can reap the benefits of their citronella and Bose speakers.

And while the picture, the sound, and even the seating, is not always the greatest, seeing a movie outdoors, under the stars does hold a certain charm you just canít get anywhere else (letís face it, itís not all about the visual and sound quality at the drive-in). Just make sure to douse yourself in deet.

óNancy Guerin 


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