Yesterday evening we did something quintessentially DC.
Screen on the Green is a series of free movies shown on the National Mall on Monday nights during the summer. You sit in the grass with friends, picnic, and watch a classic movie projected on a big screen as the sun sets behind the Washington Monument and the moon rises over the Capitol.
Sounds great, right? It is. And they've been doing this since 1999. Twelve years later and it was our first time going. Way to take advantage of free fun in the nation's capital! I've been wanting to go for years and I think the biggest discouraging factor was that summer nights in DC can be brutally hot and humid. I spent most summer nights in my twenties drinking beer in air conditioned bars. Seeing free movies on the Mall would've been a lot cheaper!
Anyway, yesterday evening it was only 75 degrees and we made the last minute decision to check out that evening's SOTG. I grabbed a picnic blanket and hopped on the metro and met Larry, who had bought us sandwiches, lemonade, and brownies. We got there around 6:00 (the movie starts at 8:30), as I had heard that it gets quite crowded and people start claiming spots as early as 5:00. Within a few minutes we had scarfed our "picnic dinner" and had a few hours to kill...a few hours sitting on hard, hard ground that would end up killing our butts. I'd say it didn't really get crowded until around 7:00, so next time I'd get there a little later.
The U.S. Capitol is behind the screen.
I'd also plan ahead and pack a gourmet picnic and invite a group of friends. There were some large groups of experienced SOTGers who had huge tarps, groups of twenty or so people, wine, pizzas, streamers, comfy chairs, etc - looked like fun.
The view behind us:
As it got later though, I started getting annoyed with all the asshats who thought they could arrive late (some even during the movie) and try to find a spot to set up their blanket right up front where it was clearly packed with people. GO TO THE BACK, assholes! Argh! Experiences like this make me never want to go out in public again. There were people who would literally set up their blankets in the 18" of aisle space between the blankets of two other groups. What the...?! A group next to us actually spread their blanket ON TOP of someone else's blanket. It wasn't overlapping by a few inches, but by a good two feet. Again, GO TO THE BACK, assholes! You got here late!
Seriously, I can't imagine having the balls to be a jerk to everyone else and think that I deserved to squeeze into a non-existent spot up front. Had I gotten there late and found the place packed, I would've rather watched the movie from across the river than inconvenience the other movie-goers. Evidently that's just me.
And don't even get me started on the guy with the laser pointer...
Clearly, I was getting a bit grouchy before the start of the movie, but once the movie started, I was amazed at how respectful everyone was. Everyone was quiet, very few people got up in the middle of the movie, the crowd clapped at the good parts in the movie, and it turned out to be a great experience (despite my sore butt).
Before the movie starts is a Bugs Bunny cartoon. As it came on, Larry exclaimed "This is my favorite one!" (It was Hair-Raising Hare - the one with the big orange monster.)
And then the HBO dance:
The movie was Cool Hand Luke. Helloooo, Mr. Newman!
Great movie, great evening.
And next time I'll sneak in a bottle of wine to so I get less annoyed at the dickheads invading my personal space.