Hot dog! Hot damn! Summer is almost over, and I’ve been trying to make the most of it. Last weekend we went out to a drive-in theatre out in the boonies to see Superbad, partake of freaky dancing concession stand food, and take unauthorized photos. Did you know that you can’t take pictures at a drive-in, even when it is fabulously vintage and filled with all kinds of baffling retro curiosities? I guess the no-camera rule is to prevent people from recording bootleg video to sell to Armenia or wherever, but jeez, what a shame. Nobody busted on me back when I was taking (very bad) pictures of the screen during the free Tuesday night movie in Grant Park a few weeks ago, but I suppose there isn’t much of a demand for Douglas Sirk melodramas on the pirate DVD market, is there? Oh, and I also realized during our time at the drive-in that I do not know how to fully turn off the headlights on my car. Karen Black (my Subaru Forester) has “daytime running lights” that automatically click on when the car is in gear, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to disable them. This means I’ll never be able use my car to conduct nighttime espionage operations, and it also means that everyone who was watching The Bourne Ultimatum at the drive-in last weekend totally hates me for leaving halfway through. Er, sorry about that. But really, that movie was just a tad too intricate to watch through a windshield. I require broad comedy and garish camp classics for all my outdoor cinema needs, please!
We fared okay during the big storms on Thursday night. We were pretty lucky in that we didn’t lose power and we managed to avoid getting fried by lightning or flattened by falling trees. It was a hell of a night to do a reading, though. I slogged my way home from work through broken traffic lights, and then Chris drove me to the coffeehouse, which involved driving around downed branches and changing course several times in order to avoid those extra-fun flooded viaducts along Ravenswood Avenue. (I don’t know if they got as bad as this, but we weren’t going to take our chances.) My reading was decidedly enhanced by the chainsaw noise from outside as workers tried to dismantle a downed tree across the street.
It was a strange night. I’d heard some neighborhoods were hit pretty hard, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I found out that my friend Jenni Prokopy and her husband lost their home on Thursday when the roof of their building was torn off. I met Jenni about a decade ago at some networking event thingy that was pretty awful except for the fact that I got to smoke cigarettes with her, and I subscribed to her zine, and then years and years later we found ourselves at the same party. She’s done some great things with Chronic Babe, a site worth supporting even in non-disaster times, and any help or good energy you can send her way right now will be appreciated.
Now for more coffee. And really, if anyone knows how to shut the lights off in a damn Forester, let me know. I mean, it’s not that important, but what if I want to go on stakeout? Or what if I’m in a teen movie and need to commit elaborate late-night car-related pranks or other shenanigans? It sure would come in handy.
Yet another reason my teenage daughter should get an older model, pre-daytime-running-lights car: so she can commit elaborate late-night car-related pranks or other shenanigans. What are the teenage years without at least a couple of those?
Do let us know if you find a way to disable Karen Black’s DRLs! Millions will thank you.
I don’t know about the Subaru, but setting the parking brake on my Saturn turns off my daytime running lights.
I’ve never been to a drive-in. It’s a cultural experience I feel a need to do before I die. That, and to visit an IKEA.
Does your car manual have any info on how to turn off the lights?
Which drive in did you go to?
I’m with Linda, the parking brake should disable the daytime running lights.
Lets all go to the lobby!
Lets all go to the lobby!
Lets all go to the lobby!
…and have ourselves a snack!
Linda and Sarah: so you mean I should just drive with the parking brake on? I suppose that would work for a short distances. Thanks!
Julie: the drive-in was the Cascade out in West Chicago, about an hour’s drive from the city.
There’s the rub. Engaging the parking brake will help you while stationary at the drive-in, but it won’t be so useful for conducting nighttime espionage or recon operations. It’ll for sure hinder a swift get-away.
I learned this at an awesomely retro Drive-in in Maryland where they were slightly nutty about strict adherance to the rules. Rule # one: no driving on the premises with lights on. (There were, of course, more rules, but that’s the only pertinent one). Anyway, just push the parking brake in one “click”. This should turn off the lights but allow you to drive without generating that pesky grinding sound or the black smoke. This still may impact your espionage abilities though, because I believe the brake will totally disengage if you get up above 10 mph. (Maybe you could do some kind of espionage that involves sloths?)
Kim Isaac Greenblatt says
Generally, most Drive-Ins I have been at (before they were all sadly bulldozed here in Southern California or converted to swap meets and then bulldozed) allowed you to drive with running lights on. You didn’t want to have some stoned or drunken teenager stagger back to their cars from the concessions stand only to be plowed by a car driving in the dark.
If you have a separate fuse box, why not just take out the fuse for your headlights? Just a dumb suggestion – seriously, please DON’T do it in case you can’t get it back in or keep extra fuses around in case you are strange enough to try it. Make sure the fuses aren’t also connected to anything important in the car….
I’m thinking about a road trip to Maryland from NJ just to see a drive-in movie – I miss them!!!!!!!!!!!!
And yes, nighttime espionage operations are possible at high speeds –
The handbrake won’t be engaged, but the DTR controller
will think the handbrake is applied and thus turn off the DTR lights. As per some auto person on a Subaru message board. (I need to get a life)
Rock On Wendy!