It's Not FOMO, It's Showing Up for People IRL
It’s 5:45 p.m. and my car keys are jangling.
It’s been a long day of deadlines and doom scrolling with the dogs, but I’ve downed two cups of green tea and my lipstick is on and it’s time to walk out the door.
My husband groans from the sofa where he’s propped up his feet on the dogs after his long day of work heaving weights around and talking to actual people.
“We’re going out…again?”
I remind that I told him about this kickass art opening (or cool music show or fascinating literary lecture or can’t miss-cocktail party) several weeks ago, and we’re gonna be late if he doesn’t get his tushy up and dressed. Of course, he is welcome to stay home, a suggestion to which the dogs wholly approve.
“Fiiiiine,” he sighs more often than not. “But next week we’re not going anywhere!”
The dogs roll their eyes, because they know that’s a lie and that couch parties are few this time of year. It’s fall in Savannah, and the calendar brims like a pumpkin spice latte poured by an overly enthusiastic and probably drunk barista.
Last week was particularly obstreperous; my poor fella barely had a chance to buckle his belt before we charged off to pontificate with Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz, ogle the robust figures of Amy Pleasant’s canvases at Laney Contemporary, toe tap with visiting troubadour Ash Gray at Service Brewing and contemplate Dr. Beth Howell’s treatise on the celebrity of Oscar Wilde at the historic Savannah Theatre.
He begged off for a few hours to do yard work and watch the Dawgs eviscerate Ole Miss, during which I managed to make a quick round at the tremendous SLAM Savannah local artist market (holiday shopping on Amazon is for losers) and attend Savannah Rep’s highly relevant and thought-provoking production of The Lifespan of A Fact. We were both a little loopy by Sunday’s Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival, but I like to think that only enhanced our emcee shtick.
Every minute seemed packed, yet I still wish I could have popped by the Pop-up pARTy at Cohen’s Retreat (once again, local makers have your Christmas and Chanukah lists covered, OK?), a talk with artist Samantha Mack about her Things Removed installation at Studio Capilla (is it a fixed place? Is it a moveable notion? Whatever, I love it) and the Fall Camellia Festival at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens (guess I’ll have to content myself with our early backyard bloomer.)
It may look like I’m trying to be at everything everywhere all at once, and I have been accused aplenty of falling victim to the dreaded “fear of missing out.” Known in modern parlance as FOMO and derided as an unhealthy need for constant social attention, it can also be lobbed as a judgey epithet, to which I respond, AYMM?
The truth is, Mom, most nights I’m in bed by 9pm, curtailing social and cultural activities to early evening happy hours. I’ll let y’all in on a little trade secret: When there’s multiple happenings, I’ve got a one-drink maximum and never say goodbye.
I have zero problems offering a polite “no thank you” to an invitation when I’m too tired. I won’t be one of those people who shrugs “sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come” because I just don’t.
These jubilee-jammed autumn weeks aside, I’d say I experience far more ROMO than remorse for making soup and singing silly songs to our canine children instead of attending that expensive wine dinner. (ROMO = “relief of missing out.”) The secret is discernment and erring on the side of good sleep, and I’m very happy with my life choices, thank you. (A rare exception: Two Saturdays ago, I waved away Widespread Panic Halloween show tickets at Enmark Arena only to wake up the next morning to a blistering set list of Black Sabbath covers and an encore of “Climb to Safety,” a choice I will regret for the rest of my life.)
I spend months at a time in pajamas precisely so I can call upon extra energy in times like these, when Savannah stuffs more art, music, literary, and community events into its social agenda than any little city should. (To the fine readers who live elsewhere, I sincerely hope your hometown hosts as much stimulation as our fair Southern belle.)
But it is not fear of missing out that motivates me to bounce around town like a clumsily-thrown Kong toy. Nor is it about being “seen” (although I do love a nice compliment on my outfit; these sale rack finds deserve props. Scored smashin’ fashion lately at the new J. Parker Ladies, Labels on Liberty, and my ride-or-die T.J. Maxx.)
What inspires me to gussy up and go out is knowing that there is no more meaningful support to our community’s artists, musicians, and scholars than presenting oneself IRL. It’s not even about spending the money on the ticket or the trinket (although, yes, you should, as you can), it’s about letting your friendly neighborhood creatives know that they are seen. Toiling over one’s vision can be a lonely business, I’m willing to bet most will tell you exchanging a heyhowyadoin’ face-to-face is worth a thousand Insta likes. When it comes to supporting Savannah arts and culture, there's no substitute for actually being there.
So I’d like to propose a new acronym for the season: SUSO, for Showing Up and Showing Out.
Or, Oh, we SUSO’d at First Friday Art March in feather capes and matching yeti boots; too bad y’all didn’t make it.
Anyway, what I’m saying is get y’all get your tushies up, get dressed, and get out on this town.
Here’s where you might find me SUSO in the near future, hopefully with my date in tow:
Saturday, Nov. 18: Tree-shaking tunes and farm vibes collide at the Dairy Daze Music Fest, an all-day gathering featuring The Andrew Sovine Trio (he plays so many instruments, I guess there’s three of him?), SOAP (what does it stand for? IYKYK), Ash Gray and Holy Scare at Old Roberd’s Dairy—there will be dancing! Beneficently presented by The 912 Group and benefitting Pegasus Riding Academy.
Wednesday, Nov. 22: Get the pre-turkey shakes out at Victory North as a whole slew of local musicians converge to salute The Traveling Wilburys and other classic collaborations as a Savannah supergroup for the ages (which one of y’all is Roy Orbison?)
The captivating casts of Fiddler on the Roof and Lifespan of a Fact are completing theatrical runs this weekend, and the Savannah Philharmonic has a handful of tickets left for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons featuring soloist Julian Rachlin.
There are times to stay in swathed in ROMO and your favorite Snuggie, but this week isn’t one of them. There’ll be plenty of dog couch parties and admiring the camellias over the Thanksgiving holiday, Savannah. (For my elsewhere readers, here’s to SUSO for your own locals!)
Whatever the acronym, however, y’all still need to learn how to RSVP.
Those leaves don’t need to be raked ~ JLL
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