This is a serious question. Why don’t you see people walking down the streets of New York City eating pizza as they walk? By all logic, the streets should be lined with people going about their day, walking along and shoving pizza into their mouths at the same time. And while you do see city streets overflowing with masses of people, their mouths tend to be tragically devoid of pizza. Why? WHY? The city has more than 8 million people and hundreds of pizza joints. What the hell is going on?
Pizza is a highly portable food. Why else would it come with a built-in bread handle? You can fold it, if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s ergonomically screaming to be eaten while walking. But the only food you ever see people walking around with is ice cream cones. Why is that so much more socially acceptable? Ice cream is nothing more than a race against time. As soon as someone hands you that cone, it’s a ticking time bomb before the drips set in. Pizza’s not going to suddenly turn into a puddle of ooze. It doesn’t shape-shift. And yet, no one walks with it.
Where’s the hustle? This city doesn’t have time to sleep, but it has time to eat pizza while seated? Am I really to believe that no one is simultaneously starving and in a hurry to be somewhere? Pizza-walking is the only solution. And if you’re going to a really cheap place, which you are, if you’re at that level of hunger and desperation, you don’t want to hang around and eat in. The insides of most random cheap pizza joints are depressing as fuuuuuh and really only an enticing dine-in destination if you’re drunk. If you spend more than 30 seconds sitting on a sticky vinyl chair, face-to-face with a scuzzy glass shaker of pepper flakes (that is silently judging you), that’s when the dark thoughts start to seep into your mind.
I’ve walked into a pizza place, ordered a slice of pizza, and — out of raw convenience and sheer efficiency — walked down the street with it, consuming it on the way to my next destination. Feeling like I beat the system. And yet, the act is so rare I also feel like I’m committing a crime. As strangers walk by, I think, Don’t look at me! But there’s precedent, people.
In the iconic NYC-based film Saturday Night Fever, the first few shots we get of John Travolta’s character, Tony Manero, involve him walking and eating pizza, looking like a real, serious New Yorker, and setting the standard for pizza-eating-walking. Spoiler alert: Travolta goes on in the film to win first prize in a pizza-eating contest at a Brooklyn discotheque. Actually, that’s not true at all. But in the movie Grease, an unlikely romance develops when bad-boy Travolta impresses well-to-do Olivia Newton-John with his innate ability to walk and eat pizza at the same time. OK, also not true. But in the movie Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman and John Travolta famously dance the twist while eating pizza. Fine, again, not true. But that’s how it should be.
Now, you might be saying, “I like to slow down and really take the time to enjoy all my meals.” Oh, well then. You sound like the kind of person who chews their food multiple times before swallowing. Good for you! I hope you enjoy your incredibly reasonable and pleasant-sounding life. Why don’t you get on a plane, go to Italy, and just eat the most authentic pizza there as you sit comfortably on a chair made of gold? Because that’s probably what you were going to do anyway.
Aren’t you ever starving? Don’t you ever see the pizza man put the pizza in the oven to heat up and think, Just give it to me now! I don’t need it heated up! I’m an animal!? I’m not saying everyone should walk and eat pizza. I’m not saying it’s super classy. And I’m not saying it should be an Olympic sport (though that would be cool). But it’s just weird that it’s not more common. The very essence of New York City is made of things like bumping into people, being in a hurry, and two rats fighting over one piece of garbage. Eating a slice of pizza while walking feels like an important part of that. A $2 slice-shaped puzzle piece that just fits. If you are one of those rare, special people who engages in this practice (it CAN’T just be me and John Travolta), next time you’re eating pizza and walking down the street, just know that you’re being a real cool guy.
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