November draws to a close, with the year approaching an end, the turkeys gobbled, and several civilians gaining an additional 10 pounds for the season with their inlaws, with the days after filled with leftovers, zombie zerg rush shopping, cleanup, or just a few more precious hours of quality time before splitting up again for weeks on end, doing cheesy or kitschy things for sake of the occasion. But hey, what's the holidays without 'em.
I have a curiosity for things gone by, nostalgic/retro experiences that aren't quite as commonplace in present day. As such, I've always wanted to try out a drive in, having seen quite a bit of those on television and for a while, passing by one by the freeway back in Fresno in my early childhood years, (of which , apparently I did go to... at the young age of one). Said drive-in is now a Costco. Been meaning to do Drive-ins as a family occasion, having passing the few left over on various road trips, but keep putting it off for reasons (and, well, the fact that Drive-ins are rare as marf). In a last-minute ditch split decision one Black Friday afternoon because holiday weekend (and nothing else to do), my family and I decided to finally go out for this nostalgic novelty.
I guess you can say that I'm fortunate to have drive-ins in relatively convenient locations (read: within a 30 minute's drive) in both home locales. In this case, we opted for the Sacramento 6 Drive In, just off 50 and a good 20 minute drive.While visible and adjacent to the highway, the theater's entrance itself is off the beaten path. Almost seedy and forgotten, noticed only by a sign tucked around the corner behind a pair of industrial office blocks containing niche tenants like Go Karts and, to top the 50s nostalgia list, a roller derby rink.
Nostalgia, moreso for something before one's time, does leave a bit to be desired. Being spoiled by reflective bits instead of painted lanes of past made it a bit hard to see which direction to go, not to mention the two ticket shacks amid a row , of ones since removed, surrounded by various pine trees amid a chilly cloudy autumn kinda added to the shadiness and in fact, almost not unlike something out of a horror flick.
The original plan called for doing the more family-friendly Big Hero 6 or The Book of Life, but upon entering the highway and having the younger members fall asleep along the way (and too late to turn around, being time-sensitive and having already missed a few minutes), we opted to go for Mockingjay. Turning around the lot, thru the former stands to our theater (can you call it such?), we find ourselves almost enclosed by said, with very few cars around, driving upon the mound/ramps (which, frankly, really surprised me for what I would've thought to be an otherwise flat parking lot with a screen). If anything, the lack of cars, combined with the aforementioned really gave off a bit of a Panem...ian (Panish?) feel.
As the film went on (and more on that later), I found myself enjoying the experience. The privacy of one's car allowing for casual conversation,
livetweeting, and radio-received surround sound feeling a lot more immersive than a theater. Granted, the awkward angles and lack of visibility from the rear of the car (among other things) made me realize why these venues went out of fashion, there was a certain charm to be had. Even the concession stand (however the loooooong walk may have been, restroom and all) had its own retro charm.
As for Mockingjay, that film seriously left a bit to be desired. The pacing was long winded and slow, almost like they tried too hard making the book into two parts. It just felt like slow filler with an anticlimatic cliffhanger. Perhaps something as a sign, while our theater was sparingly filled, every other one that I passed along the concession stand was filled to the brim. Granted, seeing as hordes of cars came pouring in after the credits, either the film wasn't really worth watching or nobody sees earlier showings save for families. But, I digress.
Night was still young, around 7pm, so family and I decided to check out the ice skating rink in Downtown Folsom. The rink was fairly compact, snug around a railroad turntable with wreath and lights set atop the gallows.
It has been... I think a good 7/8 years since I last ice skated? While I have been told to be rather apt at the sport, I developed some doubt and hesitance upon seeing the rigid, rough, and choppy ice after much use (can't blame 'em, skaters gonna slice).
I grabbed a size 12 skate, of whose blades seemed rather dull, with a rather tight opening and a ridiculous amount of wiggle room (seriously, I kept tightening and even then had trouble keeping balance before hitting the ice). Skating was, to say the least, intense. What I expected to be smooth amongst the cuts turned into a daredevil haphazard wildebeest stampede in an infinite bullpen loop, feeling each and every bump and begging for the fence. I honestly don't know how I managed to skate so smoothly in the past, either that, or the rink really was crap.
I did manage a few laps, enjoying a the ambient music (Cha-cha slide, yeah try doing that on ice), turning into Christmas tunes as I went from fence to fence, thinking I'm smooth sailing then instant bumpy flail not unlike the above picture for roughly a good 30 minutes before calling it quits, and good timing at that - I could feel the little bits of raindrops upon exiting the rink. The drops gave way to showers (and later downpour) as family and I rushed to the car to the ambient tune of (appropriately enough) Let it Go.
And yeah, that was a night. Thanks for taking the time to read this wall of text. If you have had any experiences at a drive in or ice skating, please do tell.
Until next time,