By Stacie Prada
As summer hits and pandemic-closed businesses open up in my area, it’s exciting to have my local drive-in theater open again. I hadn’t been to a drive-in movie in decades, because staying up late and watching from my car didn’t hold a lot of appeal for me. I’m now a convert. The ability to get out of the house and do something social and special boosted my mood immensely.
Everyone has different preferences and needs, but seeing a movie in a field from my own vehicle where I could create a comfortable environment for myself felt decadent. With blankets, pillows, and a borrowed exercise mat, the back of my car was perfect for a makeshift bed. If my car wasn’t conducive and the weather was nice, I could have set up lawn chairs or the makeshift bed on the ground behind my car. I still would have been able to view and enjoy the movies.
I’ve been to the drive-in twice this year so far, and the first time I sat in the front seat of my car. I won’t do that again, since I barely lasted through the first film. My MS makes my limbs cramp, and I need to be able to shift, stretch and sprawl to find comfort. Being able to lie down for the films was relaxing and helped conserve my energy for a late night. Watching from inside my car was cozy even with the light rain outside. It was such a fun outing that only seeing the early feature would be worth going. Staying for the late, late show (and staying awake) felt like a major accomplishment!
The website driveinmovie.com lists drive in theaters in the US, Canada and Australia. They also provide many tips for visiting a drive-in. I highly encourage seeing if any are near you or in a location conducive for a weekend trip.
My biggest tips are to make your area comfortable for you, bring a battery-operated radio since they tend to use a radio frequency for the film’s audio rather than use speakers in the field, know where the bathroom is when you park, and bring a flashlight. There’s not a bad spot in the lot for viewing the screen where I went, so reducing distance to amenities and lighting my path after dark are helpful. And if mosquitoes like you, make sure to bring some bug repellent.
If you have other issues that make going out difficult, do some research beforehand. Look at their website, and contact the facility in advance to see if they can accommodate your needs. You can also ask around to see if anyone you know has been there who can give a first-hand description of what it was like. If the unknowns really cause anxiety, ask a friend to go on a scouting mission and report back before you decide whether it’s something you’re up for doing. People are really happy to share their experiences, especially if they know it will help someone else.
If it works out for you to go to a drive-in, I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did!
*Stacie Prada was diagnosed with RRMS in 2008 just shy of 38 years old. Her blog, “Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is a compilation of inspiration, exploration, and practical tips for living with multiple sclerosis while living a full, productive, and healthy life with a positive perspective. It includes musings on things that help her adapt, cope and rejoice in this adventure on earth. Please visit her at http://stacieprada.blogspot.com/