“Stories of FOMO” has been sitting in my laptop for a little more than two years. And now, I’m ready to share it. It’s never been read or edited, so feel free to add your comments below.
Hello. My name is Mari, and I’m a FOMOsexual, FOMOaddict, FOMOolic, and a FOMOker (more on those topics in chapters four, nine, two, and seven, respectively). I suffer from a condition known as “Fear of Missing Out” or better known in hipster circles by its acronym F.O.M.O.*
*This is the first and last time the acronym will appear between periods. It’s an homage to the raging FOMO I experienced as an adolescent while waiting to menstruate. So, when you look at the acronym and wonder where the periods are, you can empathize with the 14 year old version of me.
Chapter 1 – What the heck is FOMO?
The first I heard of this condition was from a couple I was hosting in the Canary Islands.** She was an accomplished business owner and athlete, and he was a well-known writer for an award-winning publication. They were the Brangelina of the group: nauseatingly good-looking, intelligent, and funny. You know, the type of people you meet and instantly want to be with all the time. All. The. Time.
I guess now is a good time to mention I have stalker tendencies.
One evening, I took a select group, including them, out for a night of mayhem and drunk dancing. Like a good enabler, I got them so drunk they pulled a chair on to the dance floor, as they could no longer stand on their own two feet. When she started to nod off and he became deaf-mute, I put them in a cab and sent them back to our hotel.
The next morning we (me and the couple turning me into a polyamorous lesbian) were chatting over breakfast about the drunken stumblings of the night before, when she dropped the F-bomb:
“I had so much FOMO when I got back to the hotel. What time did you guys get back?”
“FOMO?” I asked with the worst possible morning-after raspy voice.
“Fear of missing out,” she said with a mouth full of eggs.
I instantly knew what she was talking about. I had always been afflicted with this terrible fear of missing out of fun or debauchery or a fight or a hook-up. I foam at the mouth when someone starts a conversation with the phrase, “You missed it!” I am always the first one in and the last one out to never have to hear anything from a secondary source. I make myself sick every morning with the thought that I could’ve taken another route to work that perhaps would’ve been better. And, I watch TV to change channels, even though I have a DVR. I know that’s not really FOMO, but I’m sure it’s the spill over from it, like Tourette Syndrome is to OCD.
Anyway, back to my favorite couple.
“I have that,” I said to them in the same tone of voice I would’ve used to share that I had contracted Herpes from a circus performer.***
“We do too.”
They flashed their million dollar smiles (for a combined total of two million dollars) and I swooned into my cup of coffee.
Like the underwear to my pants, this FOMO business stuck with me. Not only did I feel the need to write about my experiences with this god forsaken disease, but I also wanted to classify the types of FOMO, like Fame FOMO and Smoking FOMO. Only I didn’t.
Writing is hard for people with FOMO. Think of everything you miss out on because you’re writing.
FRIEND ON THE PHONE
“Hey, we’re all going to Taco Bell, are you coming?”
“Ugh. I can’t, I’m writing.”
To the average person, the above exchange may not give FOMO. After all, it’s just a quick car ride with a couple of friends. But, what if, let’s say, during the car ride Sophie B. Hawkins’ hit single “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” were to come on, and, for argument’s sake, two of your girlfriends start singing this to each other. Sure, it’s just a song, and their pitch might be a little off, which can be annoying, especially if you’re trying to order a Chili Cheese Burrito with no cheese. Annoying until she, perhaps, jumps on her lap and they start making-out while waiting for the Mexican Pizza at the pick-up window.
Obviously, I chose Taco Bell over writing this book at that stage of my life. I couldn’t miss out these types of situations and predicaments by becoming an award-winning author and going on endless book tours. So, I waited until now. Because everyone knows nothing happens in your mid-thirties.
**I used to make a living vacationing with strangers. Sure, sure, I know you’re thinking everyone vacations with strangers, unless you’ve leased out an entire island for just yourself. But, my expertise was in assembling a group of unsuspecting reporters and/or business people and taking them to remote locations, giving them their fill of free booze and food so they will like (and by like, I mean Facebook like) whoever is signing my check.
***I do not have Herpes and I do not have FOMO from not having Herpes.