Friday, November 16, 2012

Bowl Me Over

I hadn’t really thought about it much since I was in college, but recently I was figuring out my 'bucket list.' One of the things that had been on it forever was seeing Barbra Streisand in concert. Stevie Wonder was also on it, (I actually told my first husband if he truly loved me, he would get Stevie to play at our wedding...I guess he didn't truly love me) but I got to see "Little" Stevie about 4 years ago and he definitely did not disappoint. Checked that one off.

Last weekend, I was able to cross Streisand off my list, too. Well...sort of. I did see Babs, but it was quite the journey getting to our seats.  Friday night traffic is crazy in L.A. no matter what, but on a holiday weekend...forget it.

I had to pick up my friend on the way, who lives only a half hour from me. A short hour and a f**king half later...I arrived at her door. We left immediately, still giving us an hour and a half to get to our seats. Traffic to the Hollywood Bowl was as expected, but what was not expected was the TWO f**king hour wait to get into the parking lot. TWO HOURS. Are you f**king kidding me? I’ve been waiting for this concert my entire life and the one concert that had a great opening act, too...I was going to be late for? I was hoping that there was some catastrophe going on for this hold up to be legit. I mean, I never really want someone to be hurt in any way...but when I have to sit in a TWO HOUR LINE to get into a parking lot...there had better be some major drama going on: a shooting, a robbery, car jacking...something worth the wait. But there wasn't. The only thing happening was they had people with no brain matter directing traffic. It’s not like the Hollywood Bowl hasn't been there for 80,000 years. You would think they would have this down to an exact science by now. But TWO F**KING HOURS IN LINE...are you kidding me?  There's just so much conversation you can have with your friend before you start thinking about abandoning her in the middle of traffic and booking it on foot to the Bowl. “Here’s your ya at the seats." She probably wouldn't be my friend too much longer. So I stayed. I was hoping if I complained enough she would tell me to just go and meet her there. No such luck.

When we finally got into the parking lot they directed us to an alternate lot that was on the other side of the freeway, up a hill, down the street and up another hill. There should have been a shuttle from that parking lot; you the trams they have at Disneyland? But needless to say...there wasn't.  Twenty five minutes later, after our long trek of huffing and puffing, we made it into the Bowl. Not to our seats, mind you...just to the entrance of the Bowl. And can I tell you how much stuff we had to carry? Not to complain even more...[but I will]...we had blankets, and stadium seats, and water bottles and other necessities to keep us warm. I recently had shoulder surgery and couldn't really use my left arm. You don't realize just how heavy a water bottle is when you can hardly use or raise your arm. I couldn't even hold the blanket, or anything for that matter, so I was carrying everything with my other arm, which was about to fall off by the time we got there. I sure hope Babs appreciated all I went through to see her.

Not being a millionaire (shocking...I know), I couldn't afford the good seats that ranged from $400-800, so I got the cheap seats. Ya know...the ones that you have to watch the artist on the big screens instead of actually looking at the teensy, weensy ant you see on stage. Even the big screens looked like 13 inch TV's because we were so high up and far away. I'm not sure night-vision, high-powered binoculars would have done the job. For those of you who don't know, the Hollywood Bowl is built into a mountain. A very steep mountain and as we made it up to our seats, and up, and up and up...and as we were losing oxygen and I was praying I wouldn't pass out...we realized our seats were literally in the tree tops. Trees that had been there hundreds of years...and we were almost to their tops. I had wished I had one of those oxygen tanks on wheels strapped on with the hose sucked up by my nostrils.  But alas...we made it. [This was our view...]

We got to our 'bench' seats...(good thing we had our little cushions with us or my tushy bones wouldn't have been too happy on the wooden slats) and we made our way past all the people who had already been there for two hours. I love inching my way into the middle of a row of squished people. I never know which way to turn...would they rather have my boobs and crotch in their faces or my butt? It’s a toss up. I chose to have them view my ass as I proceeded to hit everyone in the row below, in the head, with my purse, as I squeezed past. They were all thrilled with our late arrival.

As soon as we sat down I heard Babs say..."We're going to take a short intermission. We'll be back in 20 minutes." It was intermission? Seriously? We missed the entire first half of the show?  You have got to be kidding me. I was livid. I have never been late to anything, let alone a concert. And this was my bucket list concert for God's sake! And to add to my frustration, the two elderly ladies sitting behind us started asking us a million questions as if we've known them for years. "Where have you been? Why are you so late? Where did you drive from?" Oh my god...they didn't stop talking for one minute. They were very sweet but we were trying to settle in and eat, because neither of us had eaten all day. So on top of being in pain from walking 10 miles from the car, carrying the entire contents of my house, hiking up the stairway to heaven to get to our seats, needing an iron lung to breathe, and going into hypoglycemic shock from lack of food...we had these two women leaning forward, right in our faces, hands patting our shoulders, like we were their grandkids. It would have been quite amusing if you didn't mind someone you had never met before, almost cheek to cheek in your personal space, leaning on your hair and pulling out a nice little chunk. I still am afraid to look at the back of my head to see if I have a bald spot.

Then one of the sweet, little, rambling, old ladies started telling us about the two girls that had "mistakenly" taken our seats prior to our arrival and how they wouldn't stop talking through the whole first half. "Why do they bother coming to a concert if they're going to talk during all the singing. They wouldn't shut up even after we told them to."  It took everything I had not to tell her to stop talking. Did she not notice she was the pot calling the kettle black? We comforted them by assuring them that we didn't talk while a concert was going on. They didn't have to worry. Needless to say, as soon as Barbra came back and started singing, grandma started belting out the song along with her. Are you f**king kidding me? Shut the f**k up! I didn't come here to listen to someone else sing. I wanna hear Babs...and ONLY Babs! Of course I didn't say that, but the words were doing all they could not to burst out from my lips. 

The rest of the concert was unbelievably great. I can't believe that at 70, [yes, that's right, she's 70]...her voice is still as amazing and pure as it was 30 years ago.  I was so thankful that Obama had won the election earlier in the week, because knowing how political she is, I knew if he hadn't won...we wouldn't be listening to a concert...we would have been listening to a political pundit.  But instead, I got to hear about an hour and a half of Streisand's voice. She definitely gave me what I went for.  I can't say the rest of the experience was what I went for. But it was an adventure that will not be forgotten for a very long time. And next time I decide to go to the Bowl for a concert...I won't go on a Friday, I won't go on a holiday weekend, and I'll leave my house the day before.

I think some of the other things on my bucket list would have been so much easier to accomplish. I'm sure I would have gotten there much quicker had I only moved my African safari to the top of my list.