Ode to Wellfleet Drive-in

Jen Morgan - Wellfleet Drive In

painting by Jen Morgan

[excerpted from original kolumn – date approximate]

Oh Wellfleet Drive-in! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

There used to be five drive-ins on the cape, but I always liked the Wellfleet one the best. It’s not really a matter of opinion nowadays, as it’s the only one still in business; so if you adhere (as I do) to the tenant that a drive-in that exists is superior to a drive-in that doesn’t, then the Wellfleet Drive-in has very little serious competition on Cape.

If you dig the Big Screen, you can’t beat the drive-in, which looms up majestically against the night sky and is probably twice as big as any other screen on cape, making it just perfect for epics and action flicks with plenty of mayhem; animated films look great there too. It’s a beautiful thing to see a big old bus crash or air liner explosion out in the fresh air the way God intended. Plus, I really think the best way to watch a lot of the current cinema is to treat any stray stretches of dialog as signals to start talking amongst yourselves until the inevitable arrival of the next bombing or killing -nowadays the style is to talk along with the actors, which isn’t yet universally accepted at your hoity-toity indoor theaters.

Besides, think of all the things you can fit in your car to enhance your viewing pleasure! Done properly, it’s like bringing your house to the movies!

And if you haven’t been to the drive-in this year, there’s big news: i.e. a big upgrade on the sound system, which you can now dial up in stereo on your FM radio and it sounds GREAT! (Or at least it does if you have a good sounding FM radio.) This represents a change in philosophy on my part, as years ago I swore my allegiance to the little speakers you get to hang on your car window at the cool drive-ins, which had the added advantage of making a delightful snapping/clunking noise when I’d mistakenly drive off with them still attached at the end of a particularly exhausting show.

The whole drive-in experience is such a tantalizing mixture of privacy and sociability (of course I should point out that neither the Wellfleet Drive-in nor the publishers of this periodical would wish to encourage any acts requiring privacy -or, for that matter, sociability- on the grounds of the theater, which are, of course, sacred). And it should be said that at Wellfleet they have an excellent security staff to prevent exactly such outbursts. On the other hand, if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. I keep expecting to get a suspicious glare from the girl behind the counter as I wobble away with my fifth large cup of ice, but it never happens, and it’s a beautiful thing. (Of course in situations like these I always hire a designated driver to follow behind in a second vehicle, the better to shovel myself and my love goddess Mrs. Kelp into safely for the long drive home apres le cinema.Remember, don’t drive when sociable!)

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