By Steven Pressfield
Published: December 4, 2013
This happened in New York, can’t remember what year. Early one frozen morning, I’m schlepping home from somewhere—probably a girlfriend had kicked me out—and I find myself on 53rd Street passing the Museum of Modern Art. There’s a line out front.
If you’re a New Yorker, you’re like a Russian during the Stalin era. You see a line, you get on it. A line means something good is happening. There must be, or people wouldn’t be lining up waiting for it. Even better this particular morning, the line is short. Six people. That means I’ll be up front. I’ll get into the museum ahead of just about everybody.
I get in line.
Time is about eight-thirty. Temperature ten degrees. Wind chill twenty below. No problem. I’ve got my sport coat, got a scarf.
In a line I’m like Louis C.K. I talk to people. “Freakin’ arctic, eh man?” “Yeah, coming down outa Canada.”
“The show’s free, right?”
“Yeah, see the sign?”
In the line we’re stomping our feet, jamming our hands into our pockets.
“Anybody had breakfast yet?”
I volunteer to run to the Greek deli. Ten minutes later I’m back with bagels and bialys, hot coffee in the blue-and-white cups with the Parthenon on the side. Now the line is up to about fifty people. Wow, this is great, I’m ahead of forty-four people now.
“What time do the doors open?”
“Somebody said eleven.”
It’s nine now. No problem. I can do two hours standing on my head.