Monday, July 21, 2008

In the heat of a summer night (or A little bit Country, A little bit Rock and Roll)

Some of my earliest childhood memories recall cozying up in my parents' car, turning on that special radio (this was before you could tune in with your own), and enjoying a summer blockbuster in the middle of the woods. I was lucky enough grow up in a town that still boasts a drive-in theater, so these experiences continued throughout high school and college (albeit in different cars and with sometimes questionable decisions). It was an indelible part of our culture, and it reminded me that the kitsch of my hometown could be serene, comfortable, and somewhat enviable. Imagine what these city kids are missing!

And yet, after 3 full years of living in New York, tonight I finally rediscovered this feeling. The possibility had always been here, yet I had been too busy, perhaps too caught up in the city culture to notice. But it had caught my eye that the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival was showing "Arsenic and Old Lace," a film that had always been on my short list but had never quite made it to the top. So I rounded up some brave friends on a sweltering July night to share wine and a classic movie. What I didn't expect was the nostalgia the experience provoked.

Sure, there were no cars. No matter -- by the time high school came around (especially on carload night), we were bringing blankets and sitting on the ground anyway. Everything else brought back the magic that was the country summer. The sights (with a quick glance, those skylights look like stars), the sounds (warning signs of PDA), the smells (ahem...), the friends, the laughter, the closeness of complete strangers. Because nothing brings people together like a shared experience, and this one feels a lot like home. Maybe as I become more intimately tied to New York, the more I crave to recreate my country upbringing. Or maybe, just maybe, my two hometowns just aren't as different as they seem to be.

No comments: