THIS IS US

The Rollercoaster Cure for an Endless Pandemic

I needed to scream. Like a kid. It was glorious.

Julio Vincent Gambuto
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readAug 13, 2021

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Wednesday, my boyfriend and I decided to have a day of play, so I re-arranged my Zoom life and cleared my schedule for a New York adventure. I put my auto-reply on, set my Slack to “out of office,” and stepped away from this very laptop. He likes to joke that “all you do is type anyway.” Anyone who works on a screen for a living knows that, in fact, we do a lot more than click our keys. But I like to let him have his little fun at my expense. It helps in those inspired moments when I come up with a gentle zinger and can turn the tables on him with a mischievous grin.

I have been learning — now in my first serious pairing in 11 years, at 43 — that a healthy relationship requires a bit of poking fun. That’s something I was never really that good at, frankly. I’m a bit of a sensitive flower. It also requires very structured roles and responsibilities for housekeeping (me), dinner prep (him), and bill paying (us). Apparently, as we have quickly learned, it also requires one person to love and cherish a menagerie of bed pillows…and the other to want to burn the bed down every time he has to remove them to get under the covers (him).

So Wednesday morning found us on the D train to Coney Island. I have to admit, I have not been there in 20 years. When the Italians and our Jewish neighbors all moved to Staten Island in the 80s, gone were the halcyon days of Brighton Beach Memoirs. The Jersey Shore became our new beach getaway, and our younger generation made halcyon days anew. The kid in me — a joyful young boy I have been working to get back to ever since the pandemic hit — was elated to sit on the beach, sand between his toes, and eat mango cut to look like a flower — on a stick! I asked the Mexican vendor for a fork, but she told me she had none. “Eat it like a lollipop!” The young boy did. And he loved it.

I have dated on-and-off since my ex and I ended our relationship in 2010. Spending your 30s in graduate film school doesn’t exactly afford many opportunities for love, unless of course you and your Assistant Director have a meet-cute around the monitor. No such romance sparked on the endless short-film sets I worked during those years. If I am being…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto
Human Parts

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