I may always have suffered from a fear of missing out (I refuse to call it FOMO, even if Liam Finn did). Or it may stem from my early teens when I wasn't allowed to go to the blue lights and underage nightclubs that everyone else went to, so I would do things like get dressed up, put on a full face of make up, and then go nowhere, or con my sister's boyfriend into driving my cousin and me places (and then make him wait in the car), so we could make an appearance and have been there, even if it was just fifteen minutes of smoking cigarettes we bummed from him on the way (I will be in this man's debt forever). Even when I was older and had many years of going out behind me, the fear was still with me; a day or two after I had a lump cut out of my boob, I got dressed and insisted I was going to the housewarming of my friends who had just bought their first house. It took a threat from my sister that if I went I would be understood to be well enough to start looking after myself, and a trial glass of wine at home that immediately made my head hurt like hell and the rest of me feel faint, that drove me back into bed. I can actually remember the dress I was wearing; you could see the top of the bandage on my chest. I don't know if this was strictly fear of missing out; it was a one night only thing. But then I suppose everything is a one night only thing, in the way that we are constantly changing and so is the world.
I write this because I am sick and at home this evening, instead of at the pub, after a week of being sick and spending quite a lot of time on my own. I don't fear missing out anymore; in fact, I have grown up so arrogant that I usually assume that where I am is more interesting anyway. Ordinarily, I love being at home on a Friday, and I cherish quiet mid-week afternoons when I can read and nap. But when I'm pre-menstrual as well as sick, I start to worry again. I think that everyone else is out having fun, drinking beer, telling hilarious jokes, sharing scandalous gossip, and looking beautiful, and that even though we only do two of those things most weeks, this will be the week that everyone's at their best, and it will be the night that they would show in the movie to demonstrate how wonderful we were and life was before the tsunami/zombie invasion/Vietnam war. I don't know how to cope with that feeling, so I nap, or I do what I do when I don't know how to cope, and also what I do when I want to feel like I'm doing something. I plan to clean - I even start, and then I drink. I pour myself a little glass of something, and no longer am I left behind. I'm Hemingway. Even when in company, I'm alone. A glass later, I'm Bukowsky. I'm talking to myself, and while there may be life outside this room, it's not nearly as intelligent as the life within. The music gets a bit louder. (When do they ever play Bowie at the pub? How much easier is it to moonwalk with no shoes on?! Man I have an awesome voice!) Finally, I'm Parker. I'm languid, and a little angry (which I have been all along, but managed to hide). I'm sharp as a tack, articulate as hell, and I don't need anybody.
I've just realised it's only just gone five-thirty. I suppose part of a fear of missing out is really just feeling like you don't have any plans, or potential. While I've been writing, some people have still been at work. I, on the other hand, have had two glasses of sherry, and am now wondering where the valium is, and if Vincent needs a new tie, and if I had a cigarette now he would be able to smell it when he gets home in twenty minutes, and where have the children been the past two hours?
Because I've been listening to it since last night, am desperately trying to master the Miracles' moves, and because we all know that solitary drinking often ends in tears. Happy weekend, mi amigos.