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Do you miss the Drive-in?

15 January 2014, 14:40

Years ago (I’m constantly living in the past these days), there was this song called: “Video killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles. It was about a Radio Star who was killed by a Video. No motive was ever found for this violent incident, and the peppa traytas were never apprehended to the full extent of the long arm of the Law – just like it happens nowadays, in our once beautiful county, Mzanzi, here in South Africa.

But that’s not important right now.

Years ago (I was constantly living in the past in those days as well), before potholes, 30% pass rates, fire pools, and e-trolls, we had things in this country called: Drive-in Theatres.

For you *born freezees out there, who have never seen a Drive-in Theatre, imagine this:

An area, the size of several soccer fields (or rugby fields, for the few white, born-again, freezees). Now, imagine this area as being a sea – made out of tar – with wave upon wave of the sticky black stuff, rolling towards the beach.

Now imagine pushing the Pause/Freeze Frame Button.

You got it so far? The picture in your mind should closely resemble the beach at Durban, during the December holiday season.

To complete the picture, we now add speaker poles (they look like parking meters), six meters apart, on the crest of the frozen tarlike waves. Lastly, we erect (Down, Sakkie!) a massive TV screen on the seaward side of our tarlike ocean.

There you have it! You’ve just created a Drive-in Theatre in your mind’s eye. And like Nkandla, the president didn’t pay for it!

Unfortunately, The Buggers struck again with a song called: Video Killed the Drive-in Theatre. The song was about a Drive-in Theatre that was killed by a Video. No motive was ever found for this violent incident, and the peppa traytas … etc, etc.

Like the Trannysaurus Spandexus, the Hermaphroditus Pediphobius, and the Pedophilius Vanrooyenus, the Drive-ins have become extinct. The last Drive-in, The Velskoen in Johannesburg, died on the 30th of June 2012. Appropriately, to comply with BEE, the last movie that was screened there was Men in Black.

Years ago (I’m constantly living in the past tense), before TV, and Twitter, and cell phones, and WhatsApp, the Drive-in was a favourite place for couples who wanted to get to know one another a bit better, in private. If you get my draught. 

So there I was in Kimberley, back in 1966, or maybe 1967, or was it 1698? In any case, it was **BF. I was an apprentice electrician on the Railways, and I took this hot goose to the drive-in. (We called them gooses in those days – I don’t know what they’re called nowadays – probably buddies, or life partners, or, perish the thought: equals, or whatever.)

We went to the Drive-in in my goose’s powder-blue Ford Anglia – with me driving, of course. Now let me tell you: Kimberley, in the summer, gets HOT. We had the windows rolled down. But even so, we still managed to steam them up real good. (Did I say this goose was HOT? She was – that’s why I’m still married to her 43 years later…)

Now, as anyone who has ever been to a drive-in knows, you always try to park your car slightly uphill against a wave of the drive-in sea. This allows you to recline comfortably, while watching the movie. (Yes, Sakkie, I know: if you actually got to see the movie, it means that your goose was not fit for a gander.)

My problem was that the Anglia had no handbrake. So what I did was to drive the car up against the incline, switch the engine off, and leave it in first gear. I then pulled in the speaker through the window and threw it nonchalantly on the backseat; letting the wire coil hang behind my backrest.

And then I got down to the business of exploring my relationship with the hot goose.

Round about here, things started to get a little bit confusing.

For some inexplicable reason, our feet (all four of them) got entangled with the Anglia’s clutch, brake, and petrol pedals. Someone – it wasn’t me, and the goose swears to this day it wasn’t her – stamped down on the clutch in a fleeting moment of amorous excitement.

Gravity overcame rolling resistance; the car started running downhill in reverse; and the speaker wires snapped off – while we were desperately fighting to untangle our lower extremities from the pedals.

I finally regained control and we left the drive-in rather soon after that. Like immediately.

Years later I still had the speaker – which was sitting on the backseat of the Anglia when we got home. I connected it to my radio; and used it as an extension speaker. For some reason, I always blushed when I looked at it.

That’s pretty much the story.

Except to say to the Fool, who was parked behind me, and who laughed and screamed and clapped his hands and flashed his lights and blew his hooter – while I was fighting for my life: “Damn you, Sir! You embarrassed me in front of my goose and scared me out of four year’s growth! God will get you for this!”

This story is dedicated to that literary genius, Desilusionada: the only man on Earth, the universe, and the known galaxy, to have ever successfully managed to procreate with an old Mecer laptop, and lived to tell the tale. If I had a hat, I would take it off to you, sir! (But only the hat; for obvious reasons.)

*born freezees – born after 1994  

**BF – Before Freezees

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