SOCIETY NOW

Ode to a Pizza Box

All is not lost, my friends

Julio Vincent Gambuto
Forge
Published in
4 min readSep 21, 2020

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A PIZZA BOX TOP, discarded on East 63rd Street, New York City. Photo by the author

There was a cardboard pizza-box top on the sidewalk last night, just sitting there, missing its lower half. I wasn’t the first to trample on it. I probably wasn’t the first to take a picture of it.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday — a champion of gender equality, a legal icon, a cultural force. She was notorious. She was 87. Mitch McConnell went to work quickly, announcing that there would be a vote on a new justice sooner than later. The press is already reporting on a potential conservative replacement; she has three names, too. The fighting has begun. We’re about to battle again over abortion and gay marriage — struggles that we thought were already won. But there was a pizza box on the sidewalk last night. An Italian man with a playful mustache is grateful. He wants you to call again.

It’s getting cold in New York. Just a slight chill. I wore a jacket to dinner. We sat at an outdoor table in the West Village, in front of a fence adorned with 9/11 art. I shivered for the first time since February. Out west, the sky is orange — not Maple Ginger, not Pumpkin Spice, but Nuclear Autumn. Hundreds of thousands of acres of forest are burning, and the president doesn’t think science has the answer. Our California friends are checking the AQI (air quality index) before they leave the house, and some are coughing even inside. They thought California was a manageable place to be during a pandemic. “At least it’s pleasant. At least you can go outside.” Now, you can’t. But there was a pizza box on the sidewalk last night. It was marked with dirt from the bottom of shoes that had walked all over the city.

My Biden-Harris lawn sign took five weeks to come in the mail. My father’s house is covered in MAGA swag. It has been for months. Banners sway and wave and provoke. In his neighbor’s window hangs a sign: “Trump 2020. Fuck Your Feelings.” Feelings are the enemy now. Along with the press. And our allies. And reason. And logic. But there was a pizza box on the sidewalk last night.

The virus has killed 200,000 of us. Europe is battling a second wave. We’re brawling over opening the schools. Everyone hates Bill de Blasio. Kids are over it. My five-year-old nephew thinks Zoom sucks. He wants to see his friends. His…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto
Forge
Writer for

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com