FOMO? I’ve Got KIMO!
I want to get in first and acknowledge that in the grand scheme of things I’ve got absolutely nothing to complain about. As someone who has worked from home for several years and is a couch potato with a TV quiz addiction, the worst of Covid has been not seeing in the flesh my nearest and dearest, all of whom have stayed well.
And yet… when I was pinged a couple of weeks ago, suddenly all the frustrations and disappointments of childhood swept over me.
The punishment of choice in our household, no doubt more humane than smacking, was the cancellation of treats. How these rankle, even after all these years! It’s ludicrous, but I’m still not over having an exciting outing to see Henry IV Part 1 in the park whipped away at the last minute, and just don’t mention Brian Auger and the Trinity (with Julie Driscoll!) – that’s all I’m saying.
In that red, pulsating ping, five outings vanished: a day with my granddaughter, a dames’ excursion to the excellent women’s rights exhibition at the British Library, the resumption of band practice (at the easier of the two bands I play in – the one where I manage to keep playing all the time rather than mime valiantly while the rest of the band gallop away from me), and a yoga jolly at Dame B’s complete with fish and chips on the beach and swimming. Last but not least, I had to miss Folk by the Oak – a blissful event of fabulous music in elegant parkland that also entails a festive picnic with family members I don’t see often. Home alone, I skulked about with a tub of salted caramel ice cream and felt sorry for myself.
On top of that, circumstances rather than pings denied me the opportunity of a Grand Dames Outing to see founder Dame T in her country lair. The intangible FOMO had become the indisputable KIMO.
FOMO has always existed – Cinderella had it – but mobiles have fuelled it like nothing else. Now you can have instant visual confirmation that you are indeed missing out. What teenager could bear to be deprived of their phone for ten seconds?
So imagine how it felt – back in premobe days – to be a teenager without a phone at all. Thanks to the foibles of the rather antisocial couple with whom I boarded while I was at secondary school, that was me. I would hoard coins so I could ring out from the phone box down the road, and I knew its number by heart so people could phone me by pre-appointment, but promises to do so were honoured more in the breach than the observance (though I had a couple of fascinating conversations with random strangers who happened to phone while I was waiting for a call from a chum.) The only consolation is that I never found out about half the stuff I missed.
I’m sure FOMO/KIMO is far more acute in the summer: in the winter you can at least actively revel in not having to stir outside your bolthole. Now that I’m out and about again, I’m savouring every excursion and encounter, every gallery, beach and country walk, with renewed wonder. And hugs are back!