2022 in Review

My Word for 2022: Wait

Julio Vincent Gambuto

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ON SATURDAY MORNING here in New York City, thousands of people stood in line in Little Italy waiting for an “Emily in Paris pop-up.” Emily in Paris is a series on Netflix. An Emily in Paris pop-up? I have no idea what that is. Women, men, couples, teens, even kids — the line snaked around Grand Street, down Lafayette, as far as the eye could see.

I couldn’t help myself. I poked my head out from under my scarf. Popped my AirPods out. “What are you waiting for?” A 30-something woman in a heavy winter coat and angled pink beret satisfied my curiosity. “It’s Emily in Paris. The show. A pop-up.” “But what does that mean?” She couldn’t answer. She was already modeling her beret for Instagram. I was dumber for asking.

As I walked along, I marveled at the length of this line. I don’t think I have seen this many people in the city since March 2020. Were they giving out a part on the show? Like, the lead? Were they offering a lifetime supply of French bread, quiche, champagne? Was there at least alcohol somewhere — a signature French cocktail of some sort?

I still cannot fathom what would possess someone to stand on the street for hours — New Year’s Eve style — and simply wait. I wish I could tell you what exactly was popping up. Apparently there was a French market selling French things. And a shitload of Netflix signage for selfies.

For some reason, the line — the actual line in the street — irked me. Look, people can do whatever they want on a Saturday morning. Liberté! I was headed to a dance class. Twenty ladies and I sweat to the year’s best pop in a tiny mirrored studio for an hour. But the line, the wait, seemed insane.

And yet we do it all the time, everywhere. We sit in traffic. And we just accept it as a reality of the world. We “stand” in virtual queues. We hold on the phone, caught in tangled corporate phone trees and put up with failed transfer after failed transfer, for minutes, hours, full afternoons. But rare do we see the actual line in front of us. Rare can we track moment-to-moment that we are in fact getting nowhere.

This has been the Year of the Wait. A year of going nowhere. Which is probably why I was headed to a dance class. I wanted to end the year by moving, even if it was just around a…

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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