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Friday, November 5, 2010

Holy Crap! Run for Your Life!!

A re-worked re-post from July of '09, whilst I fight off a head cold that's this big....


The drive-in tried to kill me when I was 12.

How, you say?

Funny you should ask.

I did a bit of babysitting in my youth. Of course, one had to do quite a bit of babysitting at that time to make any money, because the going rate was fifty cents an hour, regardless of the number of children.

I once babysat four kids overnight and got less than $8.

But that’s another story.

I sat for my youngest cousin, Chad, here and there; and so it came to pass one weekend that my Aunt Jewel and Uncle Keith decided to go to a drive-in, bringing me along to watch the two-year-old Chad.

You remember drive-ins, don’t you? Rows and rows of speakers on stands, the rows of piled dirt that you parked your front wheels on, aiming yourself toward the screen, the teenagers who arrived in the trunks of their friends cars in an attempt to save the $4 or whatever it was to get in…

I didn’t get out much as a 12-year-old. I was a late bloomer of a gal, someone who could easily be portrayed in the movie of her life as someone who starts out in her brother’s corduroys and granny glasses and ends up, well, giving her brother his pants back.

But we’re going to the drive-in! We’re going to the drive-in!

Jewel and Keith up front, Chad and I in the back, what movie are we going to?

Why, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, of course!

I remember, quite clearly, Chad running ahead of me to the playground, lifting and placing him on the swing. The drive-in screen was visible, just beyond a couple trees, and I pushed Chad absent-mindedly while I watched the movie, watched as the van in the film pulled over and picked up the creepy hitchhiker, the one who went on to play with a knife, the one they kicked out a couple miles down the road.

I couldn’t hear it, of course; but even a fifth grader could tell you that this was not going to end well.

A number of hot dogs, some popcorn, a small keg of pop later, and we were in the back seat of the car again.

Chad lay on the floor and fell asleep.

With nothing else to do, I began to watch the movie.

Projected onto a screen 100 feet wide and 80 feet tall, I watched, through latticed fingers, as the free-wheelin’, van-drivin’ hippies were killed in horrible ways.

I kept my foot on Chad’s back as he slept.

We went back to their home after the movie, somewhere around 1:00 a.m. and I spread my sleeping bag on the hardwood floor of the spare room and closed my eyes.

And that was when the real horror began.

I was not accustomed to sleeping there, and every sound, every creak, put in motion the leather-faced freak now occupying precious brain space.

I summoned the dispenser of fear – the alphabet – for hours that night, reciting it in English, French, and Pig Latin.

Ohway ymay odgay.

It was around 6:00 a.m., as the sun was coming up, that I finally started to fall asleep.

And that’s when the garbage truck came down the alley. The sound of the hydraulic lift on the back of the truck – sounding every decibel like a chainsaw – caused my heart to rip through my ribs, whereupon it was propelled upward and hit the ceiling with a wet, percussive slap.

I peed my pants.

And then I died of fear.



You know, every day, I try to learn a little something.

What did I learn that day?

That there’s no way to ignore a screen that size.

And that you should always pack one more pair of underwear than you think you’ll need.

27 comments:

Symdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Symdaddy said...

I must admit that when I saw the Texas Chainsaw Massacre I fell asleep.

But I have had my horror moments as a youngster, but with me it was the Daleks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalek) from Dr. Who (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who).

But I was only 6 or 7 at the time, so pants peeing was (in dire emergencies only) still acceptable to a degree.

(re-posted due to my treribel spelling and gandma)

white rabbit said...

ohway ymay odgay???

You are fluent in ackslangbé?

Simply Suthern said...

My first fear episode came after watching Alfred's ole classic "The Birds". Harmless enuff now but at the time rather frightening.

Baby sitting is a bit more lucrative now.

I haven't been to a drive in for years even tho we have one not to far from the house. We oughta take our little one. It was always a good time.

Symdaddy said...

Illegitimi non carborundum!

Dun't like pigs.

Eva Gallant said...

I went to the drive in with my parents when I was a kid; my husband and I went there on dates and sometimes even watched the movie; we took our kids to the drive in; now our kids take theirs to the drive in!
But who in their right minds take a 12 year old to see the Chainsaw Massacre????

Misfit Mommy (aka the Antichrist) said...

Ok, you've beaten my drive in story of watching "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at the age of 8. I didn't have a clue what it was about at the time, just knew I should NOT be watching it.

Leenie said...

The Horror. And the great writing and the humor. I'm sneaking in a read when I should be doing BORING work at the office. Almost peed my pants trying not to laugh!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Until fairly recently I had a "scary movies at home only" policy but lately I've been stretching it by seeing scary stuff at the movies. Last year, after "Paranormal Activity" which I was fine with, I jumped at every little sound in my apartment that night. Everything creaked. I never noticed it before. But man, that was the worst night's sleep ever. Stupid movies!

I'm with Symdaddy though, with me, as a kid, it was ALWAYS the Daleks. Stupid things made me pee my pants regularly as a small kid. I was always sure there was one in my room waiting for me. I still have a love/hate relationship with all things Dalek. Especially now they can levitate and all. YIKES!

Gary Baker said...

I grew up in a small town in a pre-TV South Africa where the local sport was sneaking into the drive-in.
The record was 5 in the trunk of my step dad's 1966 Ford Cortina.
My memory asserts the drive-in made the best cheese burgers in all the multi-verse.
Thanks for reminding me ... great days.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Only went to the drive in once growing up. It was a double feature...Buck Rogers and Swiss Family Robinson. I can't believe we actually PAID to see those films.
;-)

Jon in France said...

Never been to a drive in. On the other hand I have travelled to parts of the world where spare underwear is not only desirable but also quite often a salable commodity.

Sage advice on your part.

David Waters said...

pack extra underwear...good advice....lol ;)

justa thought said...

Life lessons never come cheap, it seems. Being married to someone who never met a horror movie he didn't like, I'm finding a downside to the increasing screen sizes at home, too. I used to be able to ignore what he was watching. Now it dominates the living room. And our TV is not all that big by 2010 standards. I'm just lucky we can't really afford a bigger one.

Joanie M said...

The last horror movie I saw? The Exhorcist. I slept with my light on for a year after that. I was 19. I won't even allow that movie in my house. Nope. I don't do horror movies any more. Ever.

Liberality said...

I'm a big baby so I don't do horror movies. I wonder why a 12 year old, AND a 2 year old, were allowed to see a movie like this. And yes, I am now officially an old fart! ;~)

Paul C said...

Those early morning hydraulic monsters are out of Transformer Nightmare. Enjoyed this post.

Linda Medrano said...

I have NEVER taken a shower alone in the house (or in any hotel or motel room) after seeing "Psycho" by Hitchcock. Damn that was a scary damn scene!

HumorSmith said...

I know! To this day I can't look a Stihl square in the face.

Cloudia said...

Love your whole kooky outlook, Pearl!

Thanks for your nice comment at my place...

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Molly Potter said...

Ah Pearl. Get well soon. I hope there is a person that is looking after you well and providing you with a plentiful supply of tissues and decongestents.

Keep your fluid up.
xxxxxxxxxxx

Molly Potter said...

No not one fluid. All of them.
Sorry.

Kal said...

I loved the drive-in. Mainly because my friend had a van that when turned sideways and loaded with couch cushions became a 4 speaker love shack. Plus we always talked some goobers into another buddy's trunk for 'car load' nights and leave them in there until the second film when it was 'safe' to let them out.

Speaking of the chainsaw movie...when I got my projectionist licence we could show any movie from Brandon University's huge film collection. I chose that one and then stupidly had to go for a poop near the end...through dark hallways, at night. I think I filled my pants before I hit the toilet. Then never went back to the projection booth because I had to walk through the dark hallways to get there.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

My daughters will never know the joys of a drive-in. They're just gone. It's where I learned to smoke weed and unfasten a bra strap. Not at the same time, of course.

You said "pop." Tee-hee. That's so Midwestern.

24 Corners said...

Okay...Aunt Jewel and Uncle Keith need a long overdue spanking for letting a twelve and two year old go to that movie! Second of all...you poor thing! I peed my pants in the Haunted House at Disneyland when I was five (there, now the whole world knows)...and was mortified. It was at the beginning of the ride too, had to go through the whole thing kind of soggy (and you have to sit in one of those little carts that take you around, I now feel for the ones who sat in it after me). The Haunted House to a five year old is like "Chainsaw" to a twelve year old...horror and kids don't mix well sometimes!

You're an angel for bidding...thank you!!!
xo J~

Irish Gumbo said...

Mighty fine advice, my dear. That one goes on the checklist.

River said...

My kids all love horror movies. Even when they were little they enjoyed being scared half to death and never had nightmares from the movies they saw. A very early favourite was Blood Beach. They loved it. They get that from me, their dad is a big wuss.