In Providence: Drive On In

“We put the screen up in the driveway and I’ll tell you the truth: I didn’t feel like taking it down. That’s all it was. I never thought much about it to tell you the truth.”

If you drive to a certain neighborhood in Providence, you’ll see a house with a garage that has a make-shift movie screen in front of it. The occupant of the house put it up to make his wife smile. They sat in their car one night and watched the wife’s favorite movie — The Wizard of Oz — and as they were watching the movie, they noticed people in the neighborhood coming out of their houses with lawn chairs to watch along with them.

“The two women who go walking every night — they stopped to watch. A few people clapped when Dorothy sang ‘Over the Rainbow.’ The nosebag across the street who looks like the Wicked Witch pretended he was watering his lawn, but he stayed out there all night. Probably drowned that ugly grass of his. It was a nice little party.”

The next night, his grandkids came over and when they saw the movie screen, they wanted to sit in the car and watch Moana. Once the film was on, the neighbors came out with their lawn chairs, and a few got in their cars as well. One house opened its windows and the 7-year-old girl who lived there began singing along with the movie.

“I’m throwing out my garbage in the morning and the woman two houses across from me asks, ‘What’s the movie going to be tonight?’ I got a kick out of that. Like I told you, it was such a pain to set the whole thing up, I thought, I’ll leave it up for a little while and put on a few more movies. Why not? What the hell else are we all doing? You can’t do anything these days. I got a bad ticker and my wife has diabetes so we’re not going to restaurants or doing anything like that. Let’s watch some movies.”

They’ve been showing a new one every night, and so far nobody’s complained. In fact, he keeps getting more movie requests.

“The nosebag asked me if I would play Goodfellas. Is he sick or what? You know how many times they say #$% in that movie? It’s got sex, it’s got violence. It’s long, too. I don’t want to be out there all night watching some movie. I told him I’d put it on one day, but I’ll be dead before I put that movie on my garage. If he doesn’t like it, let him put it on his own garage, the nosebag. Him and that ugly grass.”

I ask him what movie he’s playing tonight, and he tells me–

Jaws. A classic. All about how nobody listens when someone’s trying to tell them what the right thing to do is. My daughter told me that’s what Jaws is really about, because now people are watching it again because of what’s going on right now. This whole time I thought it was just about a shark. That’s why it’s good to go back and watch these movies again. You always see something you never saw the first time.”

Even a neighborly nosebag can agree with that.