Something seems to be driving us all to stare at our phones and devices at the dinner table, at school desks, on the street. No, it’s not the sex appeal of digital devices. It’s (drum roll) THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT! The anxiety born of worry that something might be happening and WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT.
Seriously. How many wretched films have you seen, how many badly written books and stories have you read because EVERYONE ELSE HAS SEEN/READ THEM? It’s the FOMO syndrome.
And it’s making me nervous.
Do I need to call my satellite TV company and order Showtime in order to see Breaking Bad? (I already have 250 channels.) Do I need high-speed Internet service so I can call up Netflix to see Orange Is the New Black? Some years ago, I was told I absolutely had to watch Silence of the Lambs. And Titanic. And X-Men (1, 2 or 3, I don’t remember). When, years later, I did, I could only say “Meh.” I didn’t paticularly like any of them and regretted wasting my time.
I know I’m not a tourist from the flatlands, 60 percent of whom make up Broadway audiences, but I turned off the movie versions of Chicago, Cabaret and Les Miserables. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire. Love ‘em all, partly because they’re not loud and irritating.
God knows, I try to keep in step. I’ve been on Facebook for years. I clicked yes on LinkedIn, but I don’t know why, since there’s only an occasional discussion having to do with the Oxford comma that’s interesting. I signed up for Twitter, but consign all their entreaties to the spam folder. Likewise, emails from Goodreads are spam. The site is irrelevant to me except as a repository for a review I’ve written for other purposes, such as a friend’s new book or some especially good piece that I’ve finished that goes in my library and then onto Amazon and/or B&N. And Goodreads notifications as to what my “friends” are reading get deleted. Thank you, Facebook, for enlisting everyone I know to tell me what they’re reading.
William Wordsworth said it best: “The world is too much with us.” Put down the device, turn off your connections for awhile now and then, and smell the daffodils. You won’t have missed much of anything.