I met Sarajane in 2009. It’s crazy to think how long ago that is.
We met at work. She was the desk Page at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and I was the Talent Assistant (assisting three talent bookers, the leader of the three had gained the reputation of Mean Girl throughout the New York entertainment industry). We got to know each other through Zarah, the Roots/Questlove’s assistant. I’m not going to be modest here, we were really cool early 20 somethings, with highly coveted jobs.
I mean, imagine that, everyday you swipe your employee ID into 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where security is so tight that even A-list celebrities can’t get in without a visitor’s pass. When friends visit you at work, you casually stroll them through the SNL studio, let them take their photo in front of the famous stage. Celebrities come to your job, two at a time, every single day. Even though you thought it could never happen, you become jaded to their fame. Gwenyth Paltrow and Mario Batali are on the dance floor next to you at your office holiday party. You transfer Alec Baldwin’s calls to your boss, who is Lorne Michael’s wife, regularly. Chefs invite you to their restaurants and producers to their plays, as their guest, in hopes of getting on the show. You go to red carpet movie premieres with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon feet away from you and sit front row at Britney Spears concerts, for free. Imagine that, at 22-years old, and you’re somehow there because you cold applied online while you were traveling in Italy and had your first phone interview drunk from your dorm room in Prague. A month later, you danced in Penn Station at 2am to Jimmy Fallon’s “Idiot Girlfriend” playing on your headphones, when you read the email that you got the gig, which at first was an internship, before the show had even aired. You were on the way home to Long Island, after a night drinking in the city, back home to where people only watched TV.
I worked there for three years, and I can barely imagine it anymore. There’s photographic evidence.
Sarajane impressed me. She’d moved to New York from Montana, to attend college at Vassar. She’d always dreamt of being a New Yorker. I thought Montana sounded amazing. Her family were outdoor people, skiiers, campers. I didn’t know anyone like that, let alone people who woke up to mountains everyday instead of cul-de-sacs. Of all the different lives we could get, why do we get the ones we do? I’ve always wondered that.
We bonded in the way metropolitan young professionals do, over drinks and career-talk, and boy talk. We went through our biggest break ups together, we told each other everything about the pain we felt, about our dating (mis)adventures.
Her drive in her career amazed me. She was so focused and determined. She knew exactly what she wanted and she went after it, with full confidence. I had no idea what I wanted, I had just wound up there; that kind of clarity was enchanting. She worked for the biggest names in entertainment, and they adored her. When she moved to LA for work, I moved into her room, in Zarah’s apartment on the Upper West Side. I went on to live there for six years, up until last August. More on that, some other time.
I visited Sarajane in LA a few times over the years she was there, and she visited New York. We remained close, spoke on Gchat daily. We just got each other. She took on more of a mentor role in our relationship, she would lend me advice, and I appreciated that, because she seemed so sure of everything I was unsure. We related to one another, she wasn’t miles ahead of me or without confusion or desire, she just had a clearer head than I did.
She moved back to New York a few years ago. We hung out a lot then. Eventually she met this guy, Dan, who was ready for all the things she was, and who is wonderful. A genuinely good, caring, charismatic all around great human They’re engaged now, and I don’t see her as much, and we aren’t on the exact same page anymore, but I love her and admire her, just as I always have. A friend for life.
Jed calls her Bean.