FOLTH (Fear Of Leaving The House)

Ah, Washington, DC, grand city in which we live but never see.
Yet another weekend has passed.  We've even got a third day today (thanks very much, Christopher Columbus, you pillaging, genocidal, directionally-challenged explorer!) The weather was perfect all weekend. We had guests, my parents, in town.  We live in a city full of amazing sites and events and things to do, many of them free, many of them literally 10 minutes from our house. People come from all over the world to explore this great city.

Once again, we didn't do any of those things. Once again, we saw no sights.  Once again, we barely left the house.

There's a cultural affliction you have probably heard of called FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  From what I can tell, sufferers exhaust themselves doing all kinds of things and going to all kinds of places they don't really care that much about because they fear if they don't, they'll be missing some kind of amazing time or they'll miss meeting the love of their life or some other life changing event or encounter.

I don't suffer from FOMO. I suffer from FOLTH, or Fear Of Leaving The House.  Which means I do miss out, and that does bother me.  I just don't do anything about it.  So basically, I back into FOMO by way of FOLTH.

In my defense, it's football season, and as a fan of both college and, since last year, the NFL, that is a full part-time job.  Sure, the Browns are almost certainly going to lose again, because Satan spends extra time thwarting them because they are God's chosen team (God will smite Satan one day, in his perfect timing, and the Browns will win the Super Bowl).  But they might not lose, and then you would have missed it, and that is something you'll remember on your deathbed.  OK maybe not.  But seeing it live on TV--such joy, such meaning, such inspirational over-coming--it might be enough to get you through the last hemorrhagic, pestiferous, apocalyptic days of the Trump administration, if paired with a lovely rose wine and dark chocolate truffles, with just a souciant of anti-anxiety medication sprinkled on the top.  I have a very severe case of football-related FOMO, in other words.

Also, Baker Mayfield is my adopted son, the fact of which he is not currently aware, probably because he already has a mother, and a very good one, by all accounts.  Nonetheless, he is my child, and I have watched him play every game I possibly could since his first year at my alma mater in 2015, and I must continue to watch him play for as long as we both shall live, otherwise he will sense it, and his heart will be sad, and I will have failed as a fake adoptive mother.  (Side note: You know you are a middle aged woman when the sight of a handsome, muscled, swaggering football player gives you a very strong, physical urge to...adopt him. Menopause, here I come.)

Thanks, Fake Adoptive Mom I've Never Met, for never leaving the house so you can watch me play, mostly badly this season, although it is really the fault of the offensive line and the coaches, seeing  as you have fake-raised me to be perfect in your eyes. 

So football, yes, is a ball and chain that runs from my TV to my ankle every fall.

That would be a great excuse.  If football were played all year (which it absolutely should be).  But our record of leaving the house is in fact no better in spring, summer, or winter.  Conditions are never optimal (it's too hot! it's too cold! there's allergies! the stink bugs are out! our car needs gas!), and if they are, they are optimal for all the people. There will be crowds! Parking will be a hassle! We won't get a table! We'll get run over by electric scooters!

You add to that our homebody children, especially Lawson, who is conducting a seemingly life-long experiment regarding how many days a human life can be lived within one room--nay, one square foot of one room.  Any day now, he's going to propose we get him a catheter. I fear prison is no deterrent for Lawson, that would be his dream life, although committing a crime is challenging if you never leave a single sofa cushion (he could do a cyber crime, I suppose).

Lawson's strong aversion to leaving the premises means that in addition to all the other logistical challenges of a family outing--where will we go? how do we get there? what time do we need to leave? how will we get 4 whole people into the same car at the same time? what do we need to bring? where will we park? what will we eat? can we wear pajamas?--we have to press through a massive psychological counter-attack that commences full-force at the mere suggestion of departure from a person who is growing physically larger and more logically wily every day.  Of course, his aversion has been nurtured by us never leaving the house, a tendency that is then strengthened by his aversion.  It's a vicious, destructive cycle,  just like the everyone-hates-us-except-trump-so-we'll-support-him-now-everyone-(justifiably)-hates-us-more relationship evangelicals have gotten themselves into.  At some point, you've just got to drag your sorry selves away from the house.  But not until it's actually burning to the ground.

Just don't call us lazy, that is not the issue. At least not for me.  The other three people--OK, you can call them lazy if you want.  But I am a marathon runner.  I am the antithesis of lazy. At least not physically.  But honestly, it is easier to run a marathon (at my pace, anyway, this ain't some grand human/real Kenyan achievement) than to plan and execute a family activity.  Give me some sneakers, a road, and, most importantly, responsibility for no one but myself (heaven!), and there is no stopping me. But mobilizing anyone else is just beyond my capacity as a mere mortal.

So while other families are fall-festing and apple-picking and bike-riding and fresh-air-breathing, we'll just be over here staring out the windows (and they are all closed, because some people here, who didn't grow up in Africa, prefer canned air), pondering how much easier it would be if we were celebrities and could have a personal assistant tell us when and where our next engagement would take place, and maybe physically lift everyone into the car.

Maybe Baker could hire someone for his old Fake Mom.  It's the least he could do after all the sacrifices I haven't made for him.


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