The Oracle Arena

Yes, I realize a year has passed since I last posted and yes, I know this is very bad, as I am constantly reminded by the professor of the Social Media class I started this blog for in the first place. Let’s just say, I don’t get out much these days. And when I do, the service is ‘just fine,’ as opposed to stellar or terrible or otherwise noteworthy in any way.

But, last night I went to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, to see my (completely imagined) boyfriend, Maxwell.

I made this picture of us to prepare for the show

I made this picture of us to prepare for the show

The following is a breakdown of my perceived pros and cons of this experience.


Maxwell. I mean…

Bartenders. The bartenders were very friendly and, unlike most ‘corporate stadium’ situations, poured like normal bartenders and not automated measuring machines who fear for their lives if they go a drop over. This pleased me because for more than ten bucks a pop, getting those weak-ass drinks is always a major letdown.

Merch Table. The lady at the merchandise table let me try on not one, but three shirts, answering questions about sizing and laundering and “does this look good on me?” and “if I’m having some special alone time while wearing this Maxwell shirt and listening to Maxwell on the stereo, will the tears of ecstasy that fall from my eyes cause this to shrink at all, or…?” with patience and what I can only assume was honesty. I’ll tell you later when I put on the shirt I bought in the light of day.

Yes it's on backwards

Yes it’s on backward

Men’s Bathroom. Oh my god, we women and our bathroom time! Before Maxwell came on (and after a stellar, passionate performance by Mary J. Blige), my actual boyfriend and I went to get drinks at the bar just outside the doors near our seats. Noticing what looked like a decently-sized line at the women’s restroom, I left him to handle the beverages so I could take my place in said line. I kept walking further and further back, asking “are you in the bathroom line?” and “still the bathroom line?” as I went. Many grim, exasperated nods from my fellow sisters later, I found the end.

But, let me tell you, I was not having this. After several moments of not moving, while watching the empty door of the men’s room call me like a sticky, toilet paper-filled Siren, I asked a very dapper older gentleman with a feather in his cap if he wouldn’t mind looking to see if there were any open stalls. I’m not kidding when I say he had a feather in his hat; he had a fabulous feather tucked into the brim of his hat, which matched his suit. I loved him. Anyhoo – he walked forth, peeked inside the men’s room, and waved me over when the coast was clear. As I went, other women asked “are you using the men’s room?” and I shouted, Braveheart style, “yes! Come on ladies, who’s with me?!”

Only a few followed, and all but one turned back as soon as they saw actual men in the men’s room. I’m not sure what they were expecting. As for the men themselves, they were polite and not bothered by my presence, as demonstrated by some low mumbling and one “I ain’t mad” from their apparent spokesperson. While washing my hands, I took it upon myself to fix one of the clogged sinks for them (by pulling out the paper towel over the drain…I mean, come on you guys), which earned me a hearty cheer from my comrades by the sinks. I said “that thing would have been clogged all night if I hadn’t come in here!” and they could not disagree.


Maxwell. He did not propose to me, as I’d been counting on. Sure, his performance was the stuff of angels descending straight from heaven to sprinkle us all with glitter and hundred-dollar bills, but no matter how hard I mind-vibed him, he did not stop the show, turn his gaze toward me, and say “Amanda, my darling. It’s time.”

On the upside, I’m pretty sure I got pregnant just listening to him sing in the same room as me, so at least I’ve got that.

The lines. That women’s restroom line? It had barely moved by the time I got out of the men’s room. When I sought out my boyfriend, I finally found him standing exactly where I’d left him ten minutes earlier: in line at the bar.

I hate lines. Especially really, really long lines.

So many cars.

So many cars.

The traffic to Oakland was what you’d expect on a rainy weeknight, but as we neared the stadium it became gruesome. We inched along, not moving for long blocks of time, wondering what in the holy living hell was taking so long. I’ll say here that I realize the city of Oakland is not going to reconfigure their freeway exit system to accommodate the traffic caused by a Maxwell concert. I can only assume that for Warriors games and any other concert the traffic moves along at a brisk pace, but this was Maxwell we’re talking about, so surely the Oracle should have planned ahead for masses of adoring fans such as myself, all showing up at the same time.

The organization and efficiency of getting cars in and parked left something to be desired, I’ll just say that. However, for having to stand in the rain dealing with crazy-eyed fans for hours, the staff was in pretty good spirits. Having waited so, so long, our bladders were hella (shout out Oakland!) pissed (pun!), but the four portable toilets in the parking lot were beyond horrifying, even for a group who’s done their fair share of concert venue slumming.

Once we got to the actual venue, we were moved in quickly, helpfully told where to find the nearest bathrooms, and from that point on, everything was perfect. I was free to settle in and properly enjoy my love, Maxwell, in his performance.

By ‘properly enjoy’ I of course mean standing, screaming, dancing, crying, and overall swooning as if The Beatles had just stepped out of their jet and I was the only woman on the tarmac. So for that, I would like to thank the Oracle Arena, for keeping the lights down low.


photo by Suzanne Karp

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