PANDEMIC

365 Days of this Bullshit

Quick reflections on 52 weeks of solitude in a 500-SF apartment

Julio Vincent Gambuto
3 min readMar 9, 2021

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My bookshelf. Three of many bottles. | PC: me

It’s been a year. On March 9, 2020, I started my “self-quarantine.” That was a new word to me then (to all of us) and a wholly new experience. This exciting act of heroism — sequestering yourself away so as not to infect others — was a bit dramatic at first. Really, two weeks? It has now been fifty-two.

When I started my personal lockdown, I was just back from a trip to Seattle, then the epicenter. It was a celebratory trip, a film festival. Two days in, word around Seattle was that it was about to get dangerous there. So I boarded a plane, cutting my trip short to fly home to New York City, straight into what would become the new epicenter.

None of us knew what was coming: disinfecting the mail, the clamoring of pots and pans, capitalizing the word Zoom. Also: a dystopian nightmare of great and painful solitude. I will never forget the ambulance sirens, the only sounds the City made for months. The last picture in my phone of The Before Times was my birthday cake, eaten by a bar full of friends in Los Angeles. The next one is a solo roll of toilet paper, in portrait mode — my attempt at Instagram humor in March 2020.

I have now been alone at home for 365 days. We all have different stories. Some of you were “trapped” at home with your family. I was trapped at home with myself. I like me, but not this much. Yes, I’ve taken days here and there to see people — this is not Walden, it’s Manhattan. But I have been mostly without others. It has made me realize how much I love others. And how much I hate others. How much I need others. How much I wish I didn’t need others. Along the way, I named my lamp. Larry and I have been through a lot.

This year has broken me in half. It has also helped me get to the core of who I am. It has abruptly closed some chapters that I wish I could have read more of, and it has rushed open new ones without even a title. It has given me long hair and short hair. It has left me with no patience. It has created great clarity. It has made plain the…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author of “Please Unsubscribe, Thanks!” from Avid Reader Press at Simon & Schuster // Speaking at SXSW in March // juliovincent.com