Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turns out our brains are trying to trick us into missing out. And people make fun of me for spending all my iTunes gift cards the day I get them! (They went toward songs by La Roux, by the way. They're like the Eurythmics meets Atari.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Promo FOMO: Flint, Michigan

FOMO makes obsessive cataloguers of its sufferers. We want to prove to ourselves (and you) that we've been there, seen that, done something with our time. We keep spreadsheets, diaries, photo albums, calendars, catalogues, quote books, blogs, lists, and if we're really special, lists with illustrative charts. (If I ever die, someone is going to find the high school diary of mine that features "Appendix A--Boys I've Kissed, Breakdown by Nationality!", and I'm glad I will not be around to have an embarrassment hemmorhage.)

Another thing we keep: maps. Ever since high school I've had a world map tacked to my childhood bedroom wall, with a red pencil ready to go in my nightstand, so I can put a new dot on the map every time I go somewhere.

Today I got to add a new one:

I've just come back from 2 days in Flint, Michigan, home of The Velvet Touch and also my boyfriend. Prior to this trip, most of what I knew about Flint came from two sources: Matt's anecdotes ("I was thinking about getting Olivia a bunny. Maybe I'll go to the Pets or Meat store!") and the SimCity 2000 Flint scenario:

Turns out there are a lot of abandoned houses in the real Flint, too. I guess nobody's told them my genius trick of just voiding all taxes for five years until all the suckers come back and the Punishment Bulldoze begins. Then all we have to do is go up to the "Disasters" menu and scroll ourselves down to monster attac...

But I digress. Here are some pictures from the real Flint, America's Sixth Most Miserable City.

This next one comes from a road called the Dort Highway, which seems to be populated entirely by "massage parlors" and abandoned hot dog stands. Ooh, my Freud is tingling.

What can I say about Flint? Two days is only enough to get a passing impression, and mine was: don't come here if you like a good ironic dive. This is way beyond irony. This is the sort of place that requires great tour guides...

...good food, and a warm bed and comfy house in the suburbs, all of which I had, thanks to Matt and his parents.

Creature comforts are like bumpers on the bowling alley of adventure. To the hardened nomofomist, they might feel like a crutch. You're worried that you aren't really playing the game if you use them. But then you take them away and realize that without them, you're even worse at bowling than Barack Obama. They're nice to have around sometimes. Metaphor courtesy of Galaxy Lanes Bowling Alley, Grand Blanc, Michigan, and the lovely time I had there on Monday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What is nomofomo?

"Oh, snow" FOMO: If I don't make a snow angel, will I miss out?

MoMA FOMO: What's going on in the prairie house? Am I missing out?

My sister explained the concept of FOMO to me the other night (and on her blog as well). FOMO, acronym: Fear of Missing Out, a condition shared by graduate students, impoverished entry-levels, Time Out New York readers, and unhappily marrieds all over the world. E.g., I wasn't planning on going to the Times Square Red Lobster with everybody, but then Stacey told me about the gigantic neon rotating lobster at the front door and I thought, when am I going to see that again? FOMO.

FOMO. It's a convenient way to express that quiet mania compelling you to the Maryland Renaissance Festival year after year, even though you know the lines for mead will be long and all the same creepy people will be there. It's the little voice that makes you say sure, I'll have the roasted-jalapeno flavored beer, the Buttered Popcorn jelly bean, the mayfly-infested room in that dilapidated but charming motel, the gliding lessons, the painting lessons, the Ladytron tickets, the driving directions to the World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham in Smithfield, Virginia (they're printed out here and ready to go - you know you want to).

It's the reason I long to explore all the seedy-looking highway restaurants in Falls Church when I drive past them (especially the one called VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT). The reason I scroll through Wolf Trap's offerings every month and seriously ask myself whether Hall and Oates really could make my dreams come true if I saw them live. The reason my sister is going to Florida, Colorado, West Virginia, Virginia, DC, and Ireland--this month. FOMO!

FOMO. Sure, it's totally underpinned by my terror of my own mortality. But my desire to quash FOMO has been responsible for pretty much all of the best moments of my life, and so my goal this year is to let that desire go crazy. FOMO? No mo.

Starting in the new year, I'll keep a diary of my adventures and include some (primarily DC-area) suggestions for you so you can beat the fomo oh-noes too if you want. Help me think of other words that rhyme with FOMO.