A Big Old FOMO

A Big Old FOMO

The staff bar was hopping earlier tonight. The production cast finishes their contract next week, so the replacement singers and dancers are already rehearsing onboard. Altogether, the staff bar contained two casts, half a dozen lounge musicians, some laptops in the introvert-corner, and tables full of waiters and Filipinos. The crowd is trickling out now, either to rest for work, to wake up early and see the Panama Canal tomorrow, or to smoke in the crew bar.

Ship people often start the night in the (quieter, nonsmoking) staff bar, socialize at a pleasant decibel level, get drunk enough not to mind excessive noise and smoke, and continue upstairs to the crew bar to dance. I’ve just decided not to migrate with my friends, Tsukasa, Don, and Roy, because I’m on a roll inking my comics. Which brings me to the subject of FOMO.

One of Roy’s friends coined the term “FOMO”: Fear Of Missing Out.

FOMO was originally invoked for peer pressure purposes, to get people out of the house. Roy’s friend broke it down this way: What if saying “Yes” meant getting laid? But seriously, FOMO drives even the most cautious and introverted out to a bar or a concert, braving weather, money-problems or social anxieties because THIS might be the night that changes your life.

It brings to mind the lyrics of a totally under-publicized and well-loved musical called Violet: Two kinds of people in this world, some say Yes and some say No. Roy believes in saying Yes to everything. He left New Zealand six years ago, and has lived in the US, Canada, UK and the Czech Republic since then. He also couch-surfs and dances like nobody’s watching. To further quote Violet, “I’m only learning to say yes.”

I experience retroactive FOMO when asked how I got this cruise ship gig. Here’s the story: In summer 2006, I worked with a pianist who was moving to New York like I was. The next year, he pointed me toward an ill-paying but musically-exciting theater gig (The Wild Party) at Columbia University. A month after that, I went to the Wild Party conductor’s senior piano recital, despite being tired and busy from temping. During intermission, against my natural inclinations, I went to chat with the Wild Party flutist who was standing next to the last-minute substitute Wild Party bass player whose friend is a contractor who was looking for a tenor sax player for a cruise ship. If that isn’t a case of getting flicked into place by a giant hand, I don’t know what is!

The staff bar is now populated by two pool players, six drinkers, and two French Canadians singing passionately about country roads in West Virginia. And I decide that tonight, instead of possibly getting laid, I will write this post while the idea is fresh.

p.s. Roy just returned from the crew bar. He said it was lame tonight. “Too many dicks on the dance floor.”

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April 20th, 2010

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