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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Holy Crap! Run for Your Life!!

I have overtime available to me for the next few weeks and may not have time to write.  Nevertheless, I found a little something from 2009...  Enjoy.

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

How, you say?

Well, 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 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.


Shelly said...

"...you should always pack one more pair of underwear than you think you’ll need." Words of wisdom, indeed.

vanilla said...

Excellent characterization of the fear-response. Never forget it either, will you?

joeh said...

I saw "The Creature from the bllack Lagoon" as a 10YO and was afraid to be alone for 3 years.

Simply Suthern said...

For me it was "The Birds"

I look back now and think why, but back then I was skeert.

We only have one operating Drive In Theater left any where close by.

Is a shame. They were fun.

Perpetua said...

The one that freaked me out was Psycho and I was older than 12.

Glad about the overtime, but don't overdo it.

Patricia said...

For me it was the Wiz of Oz flying monkies. That pretty much cured me of horror flicks. Yes, I know that wasn't a horror flick.

Pearl said...

Yeah, but those flying monkeys?! Yeeesh! Scary!

Yeah, I will NEVER forget that movie. And I will never stop wondering: Who takes a 12 YO to see a movie like that?!

Eva Gallant said...

I can't believe they took two kids to that movie!!!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

One of the first movies I remember seeing at the drive-in was . . . Um. . . Oh, hay-ell. I don't remember the name of it, but the song "Me and Bobby McGee" was the closing theme, and there were *gasp* boobies in it. Naked! For all of 10 seconds. I think I was about 7 years old.
And totally mortified.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! This is an unsettling tale, but not half as unsettling as trying to watch that movie now without laughing at how appallingly awful it is. A true "Turd Of Our Times" (TM, Roth, 2013). But you turned out okay is the end, right? =D

jenny_o said...

Early in my career as a person, I was not allowed to see such things, and later, when I had the choice, I knew the depths of wimpy-ness in my soul well enough to stay the heck away!

Grab that overtime while the grabbing's good. Do you also get an overtime rate? Nah, that would be too much to ask for, wouldn't it? Gotta belong to a union to get that :)

Mich said...

Rule Number One For All Situations: Always have a pair of clean knickers. As my Irish granny always told me, you could drop dead at any moment--you don't want to be found in dirty knickers.

Omg the poor little babysitter!! And the whole time I was thinking the 2-year-old was going to catch a horrific scene of the film....

Joanne Noragon said...

I always pack more underwear than I think I'll need. I've never been a fan of wearing them inside out the next time, and as you have clearly demonstrated, that don't always work!

Leenie said...

Um, spare clean undies is all well and good if you live to change into them. If you die I don't think it will matter.

Linda O'Connell said...

Psycho did me in. Couldn't shower without wetting myself.

Bodacious Boomer said...

Keeping extra undies with you? Always prudent especially as time goes by...

bill lisleman said...

Pearl you have (had?) an Aunt Jewel? This bit of trivia started me wondering if your family used other jewelry type names. Maybe Topaz, Diamond, Ruby, Choker?

Buttons said...

Oh this brought back memories 50 cents an hour and a drive in date with My Hero Texas Chain Saw I remember it well. Way to impress the ladies My Hero. I threw up all night because it was scary and the part that said true story freaked me out so much.. I peed my pants too not really there probably would not have been a second date:) Oh yeah and there were three people in the trunk.
I would have died with the sound of the garbage truck but we lived in the woods:) Thanks for reminding me.:) B

Geo. said...

You seem to have struck a chord with an entire generation of commenters who do not approve of chainsaw massacres. I find this very reassuring. Thank you, Pearl.

Pearl said...

I went to many drive-ins in my youth -- sometimes whilst stowed in the trunk -- but very rarely watched them. :-) There was far too much to do, wandering around looking for friends, kissing in the backseat, drinking smuggled beer...

Pearl said...

p.s. There IS overtime. Time and a half! Minnesota labor laws are wonderful things to behold.

Belle said...

I was 13 when I saw Psycho. It terrified me and I hated taking a shower after that. I blame my mom for taking me.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Yes, I made 50 cents an hour also. Today they get $10 00 and more. Where was inflation when I needed it.

Do you ever wonder what kind of person Chad grew up to be? With parents who would take him and an impressionable 12 year old girl to a movie like that, you have to assume that they weren't the most caring or smartest of guardians.

I saw Psycho when I was about 15. I have mostly taken baths since. No showers for me.

Juli said...

I always pack an extra 6 pairs at least. :) As for scary movies.... I'm too traumatized to remember. I think I've blocked them all out.

klahanie said...

Well Pearl,

Yes, I'm here again. Got a real buzz out of this posting. Quite the visualisation I got.

And no hint to visit my site, but thanks for mentioning about peeing in pants!

Your starstruck fan and evidently, we're getting married,


Red said...

Well told through the eyes of a kid.
I do not watch or enjoy horror movies.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I have to say this what on earth were you aunt and uncle thinking taking children to such a movie, but back then I guess it wasn't something a lot of adults gave a thought to many thought kids paid no attention to such things.......wrong

jenny_o said...

Yay for time and a half, Pearl! Excellent.

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

If we could all learn from our experiences like you. Cute post, and I wish I'd learned at the age of 12 not to watch scary movies. :/

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Pat Tillett said...

Okay, I'm reading this backwards (to catch up) and in this one you peed yourself, in your next post you pooped yourself. Dare I ask if there is hurl waiting for me at the next stop?
Good story though!

Daisy said...

Ugh, I hate those sorts of movies and always have. Lucky Chad that he could sleep through it!