Yeah, it’s time. This one’s been building for a while. Strap in, kiddies.
I’ll admit this is an old man rant. You know, a “Back in my day” kind of thing. Hey, I’ve had an AARP card since 1996. I’m entitled.
That’s a word I hear a lot of today. Entitled. I also hear about how smart the kids are today. Oh, they’re so ‘woke’, and they’re so smart, and they’re so together. TIME magazine says so, so it must be true.
Maybe not so much.
When I was in high school, I started dating the same time I got a driver’s license. That was the key. Otherwise you had to have your parents drive you to go pick up your girl, which was déclassé, to say the least.
When you picked up your girl in the late 1960s — to go to a movie, or out for a pizza, or to a party — if it was summer, she was probably wearing stretchy super-short-shorts and a tube top. Yes, in 1969, that was street wear, not a swimsuit. She probably didn’t tie those laces with a knot, though. She tied them in a bow. because it’s prettier, or something. All I know is, Damn things never stayed tied.
You’d pick her up, and you’d open and hold the door for her. The driver’s door. You see, we had bench seats in almost every car at the time, and she’d pile in to the driver’s side and make enough room for you to get in alongside her, but she’d still be left of the centerline of the car. Yes, there’s plenty of room for my 143-pound stringbean sixteen-year-old self to get in between her and that far car door.
Of course, you’d have to teach her how to shift. First, there’s no way you can reach the shifter with her plastered up against you and your arm around her shoulders. You’d take her head off. Second, you have to teach her how to shift because she’s maybe fourteen or fifteen years old, and doesn’t know how to drive yet. So you gotta teach her three-on-the-tree, and coach her in which gear you want as you go until she gets the hang of it.
Seat belts? Oh, yeah, we had ’em, and we used ’em. Of course, the seat belts in a car are big enough to get around my current fat-ass sixty-five year old self, and I outmass my sixteen-year-old self and my high school girlfriend taken together, so we’d just use the driver’s belt around us both. There was one for the middle seat on a bench seat, too, but that was way to the right of where she was sitting, so we both used the driver’s belt. You wouldn’t want her to be un-seatbelted, after all. That’d be dangerous.
So where would you go on a date? Pizza maybe. And a movie. A drive-in movie. What’s a drive-in movie? Well, they put a really big movie screen outdoors, and you sit in your car in the parking lot and watch the screen. The parking spots have sort of a hump for the front wheels, so the car is tipped up in the front so you can see the screen, even if you’re in the back seat, and there’s a little speaker you hang in the window. So you’d sit with your girl, dressed in her short-shorts and tube top, on a bench seat the size of a single bed, and watch the movie. More or less. You might even get into the back seat, or at least slide over to the passenger side of the car, because then the steering wheel isn’t in your way.
Of course, they would turn out the parking lot lights when the movie started. You have to be able to see the screen after all.
Drive-in movies were often double-features — two movies, four hours — because there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.
What do we have now?
Well, the drive-ins are, for the most part, gone, for lack of business. People go to the cineplex now, and sit in a room full of strangers. Bench seats are gone, too. Where the hot car to have in 1969 was a big Chrysler with huge bench seats, the hot car to have now is apparently a tiny little drifter car with bucket seats and a (automatic) shifter between. And the short-shorts and tube tops have been replaced with I-don’t-know-what. Something less, um, fun.
Not that it matters much, I guess. We went out to eat last night, and the couple at the next table were sitting there working their cell phones. I don’t know. When they get excited, maybe they text moans to each other.
So let’s review. They traded away drive-in movies for watching movies in a big room with a thousand other people, they traded away a big comfy bench seat for isolated tiny bucket seats and a cup holder, and they traded away short-shorts and tube tops for whatever.
Oh, and they apparently have a hard time telling boys from girls. Not that it matters much, I guess, given everything else they lost.
Smart? Don’t sound smart to me. Sound like a bunch of morons.
And I’m supposed to respect their opinion on civil rights? My civil rights, including my rights under the Second Amendment?
Figure out sex first, kids, then you can take up something complicated.
Like public policy.