Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drive-in Theater

The drive-in theater, a short lived phenomenon, will primarily be an experience of my generation. Begun in the 30's, peaking in the 50's and early 60's with  more than 4000 venues, and now faded to less than 400 still in operation. In the hey-day the family piled into the big station wagon for a summer evening of concession stand food, cartoons, and Disney flicks. In their decline, desperate for revenue, the movies changed to sci-fi, horror and porn, appealing to their primary clientele, horny teens. I regret I never got laid in the back seat of a big finned Buick at the local drive-in.

This theater is on Route 220 just south of Williamsport, PA. It closed a few years ago.  A strange beauty to this space being reclaimed.

Friday, June 15, 2012


In 1987 I put a large addition on my house and did the roofing myself. Including the old part of the house it was about 1600 square feet at three levels. When you put down 25 year shingles you don't think about redoing the job. You know they don't last forever but it's hard to imagine that you will be involved in their replacement.

Well here we are 25 years later and though there are no leaks that we know of the roof is pretty funky in places, covered with moss and lichen. So this summer we determined it was time to do the job. I briefly considered hiring it out but decided I had one more roofing job in me.

It's interesting revisiting this task. Same job, different body. Two long weekends and I am maybe 1/3 of the way. Each part takes longer than expected though I can't say I remember how long it took the first time. I'm holding up OK though Advil is my friend at the end of the day. I bought a "fall kit', OSHA approved body harness and ropes, to be on the safe side. I'm doing this to save money and that just doesn't hold up if I go and hurt myself.

With good luck I will be here the next time this needs to be done. I hope someone will roll me out where I have a good view and the crew will humor me as an honorary supervisor. I will scoff as they levitate their materials to the roof and tell them how it used to be, how we would hoist an 80 pound bundle (aww hell I'll tell 'em 100 pounds) on our shoulder and muscle them up a ladder to the peak. And how we'd nail them down one at a time with something called a hammer. They'll smile and shake their heads. And I'll marvel at the lightweight, eco-friendly, seamless roofing they'll fuse in place with microwaves with little effort in half the time.

And if I'm feeling spry that day, if I've eaten well and my meds have kicked in, I'll say with a smile, "Say son, do you know what dog-tired is? Well, I'll tell you it's a lot like bone tired. It's when you have done physical work for a very long day in blazing hot sun and when you are done all you can do is sit there with your tongue hanging out, just like a dog. Yeah roofing will do that to you. At least it used to."