Outdoorsy AF. by Rachel Roderman

Growing up, I had no idea the mountains were calling. My giant pink plastic Dream Phone™ on the other hand was ringing off the hook.

I grew up indoors in the privileged yet depressingly un-outdoorsy confines of fluorescently lit ballet studios, fenced in tennis courts, and well padded playrooms. In fact, I was spectacularly indoorsy. The moment I stepped out into the world where the concrete sidewalks were uneven and the lawns were filled with unseen divots I would trip or fall. I tended to do better on the leveled studio floors and courts. I knew it. My parents knew it. I thrived inside and I accidentally stayed there for a really long time. It was safe. I got good at avoiding getting hurt, getting dirty, getting risky. My parents probably loved knowing exactly where I was at any given moment. Plus, my hair wasn’t frizzy indoors which was great for my lewk.

I was raised in a town that for all intents and purposes felt like constant movie set suburbia. A square mile of youthful New Jersey oasis that existed only an hour from the hustle and eau de garbage of New York. My family lived in two houses over the course of my eighteen years at home, one all the way on the north side of town on a dead end street adjacent to the train tracks and a big grassy hill that we’d sled on in the winter when it was covered with snow and school was closed, and one all the way on the south side of town on a dead end street adjacent to the ballfields and an even steeper grassy hill that we’d sled on in the winter when it was covered in snow and school was closed.

Those two hills were really as close as I got to mountains.

My parents grew up in the neighboring town. I found it miraculous that they always knew where they were and that they nearly always recognized someone wherever we went.  We were rarely lost and rarely alone and if we were they did a damn good job making it seem like we weren’t. They told my sisters and I stories of trips they’d take to the quarry to bring their dog swimming, trails they’d hike nearby, places they’d set up camp with their friends. There are many pictures of my Dad and his Brawny Paper Towel man flannel shirt vibes. I remember my Dad telling me how he spent his younger days laying on the lawn and me thinking that was weird. They seemed to have spent a lot of time outside, which made sense to me because they didn’t have access to Dream Phone™ when they were young. But we never went to that quarry, we never went hiking, we never went camping. Although, to be fair, we never asked to go camping.

I was always jealous of my friends who left town every summer for their woodsy sleepover camp where they did woodsy things. My mother was sent to sleep away camp, seemingly against her will, at a young age, didn’t love it and consequently never sent us. Although, to be fair, we never asked to be sent to sleep away camp.

Sometimes we would visit our grandparents’ apartment at the beach which we loved because it had a pool, which was inherently calmer than the ocean and there was also lots of ice cream in the freezer. A few times, we stayed at our neighbors’ lake house, which we also loved because we were on vacation and allowed to have Berry Berry Kix cereal for breakfast and normally not allowed to have Berry Berry Kix cereal at home. Looking back, it is clear that the inspiration to love these nature-y places was merely the sugar rushes that came with them and not the serenity of dirt under your feet.

The summer before my freshman year of high school, my parents, for reasons unbeknownst to me, decided that they would rent a cabin in upstate New York. This was the first and last time my family would venture away from what felt like civilization but was, in actuality, minutes from a perfectly economically sound community. I have no idea how long we were there because I was so underwhelmed the entire time I nearly declined going to college upstate just to avoid the area. If I had to guess, it was three months. I think probably it was closer to seven days. Our family left New Jersey cable subscription and headed north, the five of us humans, our curious chocolate lab, Maggie, and our oblivious guinea pig, Chewy.

The cabin was furnished with a mounted elk head that I swear made actual eye contact when you looked at it, an electric blanket that I was sure would engulf me in flames while I slept, and strategically placed mouse traps under every piece of furniture. We spent the first days upstate at the closest veterinary office as Maggie had found one of the containers of rat poison and like any good laborador retriever, completely consumed every last pellet. We, on the other hand, ate at one restaurant the entire time because it was the only one that was ever open. I had penne alla vodka every night for a month. Or seven days. Or however long we were there. Although, to be fair, I asked for it every single time.

I’m sure the view at the lake was lovely, but to us it was merely a slap in the face as other families on speed boats zoomed by with their rafts in tow while our arsenal of boats consisted only of one canoe with a sizable hole. My father looked at the speed boats and looked back at us. “We can try, but I don’t think I can paddle that fast.”

It was one of the hottest summers I can ever remember, so much so that we had to leave the cabin for a night or two because we noticed Chewy seemed unequipped to handle the humidity. We packed up, headed back to New Jersey and spent the night on vacation from our vacation in the air conditioning with our beloved television.

We returned to the cabin. I remember washing our hair in the lake. The electric blanket never lit on fire. We named the elk head Elky. I remember our dog thankfully making a full recovery and swimming far far away from us and back again while we became giant walking mosquito bites. We stayed there until we went back home, as you do. It was what it was but mostly it was us wanting to leave.

After that, I don’t remember my parents trying to get us back into the great outdoors. We stayed in hotels. We went to the pool club by the highway. I went to ballet camp and tennis camp and SAT prep camp. I ended up going to college in upstate New York where we had a big grassy hill, my newest mountain, and used to joke that everyone’s minor was in Laying on the Grass, which happened to be my legacy skill.

I always considered myself a city person and I moved to New York four years ago. The move coincided with a lot of other big changes in my life, as most moves to New York City do. I have gotten comfortable being lost. I have gotten comfortable being alone. I have ironically embraced my far from effortless nature-y side from within this urban jungle, escaping to the beach to learn to surf, the mountains to learn to hike, the local campgrounds to learn to start a fire. I just got up on water skis for the first time, at 31, so there’s that.

With every year, I realize more and more how hard it was, how hard it is, to raise children. You want them to be safe. You want them to be comfortable. You want them to sleep enough and eat enough and learn enough. You want them to have the newest things and the best things and the things you never had. Bringing them outside can be a true undertaking, but one that I truly believe is worth all the bad stories and the calamine lotion.

I love the way I grew up. I felt safe, I felt loved, I felt supported in my curiosity. I didn’t often get dirty and while this felt like a perk growing up, it’s been my own new mountain to climb as an adult.

I wish I had gotten lost more. I wish I had been alone more. I wish I had figured out sooner that I can stand the summer heat if I stand in the shade, that I can sleep outside if I sleep under the stars, that I can hike for hours assuming I’ve got enough water and a watch.
When you’re sinking in city life, floating in the ocean is so good for you, whether your 3 or 30.

As a level headed, well adjusted, mildly successful adult human, I can safely say that there’s a good life on the other side of being raised indoorsy. Last year, I was driving with a friend and her son, rolling through a lush area of highway side forest. He was staring out the window and she asked him what he was looking at so intently. He said, “I’m listening to the trees. I think they talk to each other.” I imagined my Dream Phone and how when I was little, not as little as him but little nonetheless, the trees calling each other was far less interesting than fake boys calling my friends and how I was so very wrong.

The mountains are finally calling and I must go (when I can get off of work). My dream phone is one that doesn’t ring all weekend.

Outdoorsy, here I come.

(Originally published in Folk Rebellion's The Dispatch - Nature Issue)

10 Texts You Didn't Want Responses From Anyway LOL by Rachel Roderman

There is nothing more gut-wrenching than spending 12-72 hours waiting for a post-date text that seems like it won’t ever come. Did you do something wrong to deserve radio silence? Probably. Was service lost on all cell providers the exact second you pressed send? Most likely yes. Did the recipient die moments before the text came through? Ideally. As soon as you convince yourself you don’t want a text back anyway, you’re conveniently getting just what you wanted! Here are 10 of those texts that you didn’t really want responses for ANYWAY LOLZZZZ!!

“How was your night?”

Just kidding. You don’t care, anyway. You didn’t even mean to push send on this. Phew! Glad they ignored it.

“How have you been?”

Classic conversation ender in your book. It was either this or “byyyyeeee” and you chose a fail-proof method of ending that conversation on purpose. Bravo. Don’t need ‘em.

“I had fun last night.”

No harm in just supplying someone with information, right? Just pure facts for the sake of facts and definitely not any subtle encouragement of verbal interaction. Pretty obvious this was a dead end.

“Dinner this week?”

This isn’t even a full sentence. No one should have to respond to this practically illiterate garbage text, especially not your friends or that guy who told you he loves you.

“I’m inside by the bar. Are you here yet?”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You were hoping to sit alone at that bar because it’s admirable and a great inspiration for the cold open of your rom-com script. You go!

“Wanna come over?”

What does this even mean? Rereading it, there’s no way to know! Wanna? Come? Over? Are those even English words? Expecting anything but radio silence from this incredibly cryptic message is outrageous and maybe a better use of your time could be learning the English language.

“Are we still on for tomorrow?”

Guess you’ll find out! You were gonna rent a car and leave the city to go to their family’s BBQ in suburban NJ, anyway. Dumb idea!!

“Are you getting my texts?”

Obviously they aren’t and you knew that and this was rhetorical. LOL.

“That’s so interesting! Could you explain that to me in more detail?”

Nope. Please don’t answer. LOL.

“Hey”

Before you sent this, your fingers and toes were crossed that it’d be the last thing you ever said to them. Dreams do come true! LOL!!!!

Congratulations! You’ve lowered your standards and have taken textpectations into your own hands, although it may be time to rethink what know about human interaction and everything you’ve done that’s gotten you to this social and technological low point. Good luck out there, Champ!

Hotline Bling: Rediscover the Magic of Phone Calls by Rachel Roderman

The blinding Los Angeles sunset aggressively reflecting from the rearview mirror directly into my retinas while I crept slowly, almost unperceivably, along the eastbound freeway was never enjoyable—although I’m sure it was cheaper than laser eye surgery.

But I never really minded.

Unless no one was picking up.

Living in Los Angeles, I spent hours a day in my car travelling to and from wherever I was and wherever I had to be and often doing so at a snail’s pace. This ample alone time (what carpool lane?) in my temperature controlled four-wheeled box of solitude allowed me many hours to learn the lyrics to every song on the radio, develop my knee-steering abilities, spill tons of liquids in places that can not be cleaned in a car, and master meditation while maintaining the minimal level of consciousness approved by the DMV. The best part of the car rides though was the chance to catch up with someone over the phone.

You heard me.

A real life phone call with a real life human being.

Not a text.

Not an emoji.

A ring ring ring and then a voice.

And I'd wonder what their face looked like when they saw my name on the screen of their phone. And I'd see if I could feel the person smile when they said, Hello. And I'd feel myself smile as I said, Hello, back. And then we'd shoot the shit until one of us, usually the one on the east coast who thought it was getting late, had to go.

I can’t think of anything better. I know people disagree and I even know a few teenagers who don't know what I'm talking about. They've confirmed my suspicions without raising their eyes or halting their thumbs.

There’s an art to the phone call that is evaporating into the ether.

There’s an air of vulnerability in actually speaking to each other that we’re getting away with getting away without.

I commute mostly underground these days since moving to New York. The lack of sunset in my rearview is accompanied with 100% less idle time spent in a car on the phone. The time spent above ground is usually loud and pointed and involves a lot of strangers assertively claiming their rightful space in this city via elbows.

If my schedule allows I’ll opt for the long walk home, seeing if I can get someone on the line before the subway tempts me with lethargy and efficiency.

But I miss my lingering phone calls. So I scroll through my contacts. Intentionally walking past stops. Trying another number of someone who is probably free right now wondering if the phone feature of their phone still works.

These people exist, I promise! You know someone who is waiting for that hotline bling.

My grandmother used to tell my family a story about how she would walk home from elementary school with her best friend Alice. They lived close to each other so it would only be minutes between saying goodbye in person and immediately stealing away to their bedrooms to say hello again through the telephone. My great-grandfather would curiously ask how they had anything else to talk about after just leaving each others’ side. There was always something to talk about, even when they’d seemingly covered everything.

Haven't we had this conversation before? I think we have. Yeah, maybe we have. Who cares.

These days, that kind of excitement over communication exists prominently in texting and instant app culture. It’s so easy to like and favorite and retweet and share and never have to dial. We keep tabs on our friends and their whereabouts. Mostly we keep tabs on strangers and their whereabouts. We know what people think and where they go and who they’re with if they’re willing to post about it. We can stay connected with each other without explicit permission because the entire world has open access to our life updates if we allow it.

And most of us allow it.

Because it’s fun and it’s hip and it seems a lot like real communication and real relationships without a ton of effort.

And it is communication.

And they are relationships.

But my gosh, I'll fight for that face to face or at least that ear to phone communication ‘til I hit the Google Glass ceiling.

I'll rally for the kind of communication emojis can't convey:

Those big sighs and lingering silences that comes through the other end of the phone after you tell someone you're really sorry; the unstoppable laughter that you can't control when you're actually laughing out loud; the immediate relief and gratification of hearing that long story without the delay of a dot dot dot.

I get that texting is easy and fun. And like most things that are easy and fun it comes with caveats.

The prominence and acceptability of texting culture has created a really warm communication safety blanket that feels super comfy but like any safety blanket can be inhibiting.

We date people for a bit and ghost them, falling off the planet with no warning. We abandon social commitments with a casual last minute cancellation without fear of hearing the disappointment in someone's voice. We attack people with sarcasm and hide behind the barrier of our screens. We back down from saying what our hearts depend on us saying and settle for the stories we create around lack luster responses and cloudy replies.

Texting allows for a lot of socially acceptable lack of responsibility.

And let's be honest, that sucks.

A phone call can be intimidating. All those numbers! Remembering who you called after all those rings! What about my poor idle thumbs!?

A phone call is an act with intention. Butt dials excluded.

Best case scenario: you call and the intended person picks up and your romance with actual conversations begins. Worst case scenario: you get their voicemail. That’s a win win in my phonebook.

I can guarantee that if you’ve left me a voicemail, I have saved it on my phone for a long period of time, if not indefinitely. I wait for overcrowded train rides or long waits in doctor’s offices or those terrible nights at work when it seems appropriate to reconsider every choice I ever made and replay the messages in my ear.

I listen to the voices of people I know who care enough to call. I hear their messages—their often funny and awkward and innocent messages—and am reminded of the life I love on the other side, where the people who have these voices are living. Hopefully not in a train or a doctor’s office or at work.

Or perhaps, they’re exactly in those places as well, which is why they called in the first place.

Wouldn't that be fun to talk about?

I would give anything to hear the voices again of those I've lost both permanently and emotionally. Sometimes that's inspiration enough to call. Carpe dial.

Look at your day. Look at your week. Then look at your contact list. Where can you fit in a few minutes to verbally acknowledge that you miss someone, love someone, are constantly reminded of them in the smallest, weirdest places? Do you have the courage and the bravery to actually tell someone that you're sorry, that you heard what happened and you're thinking of them, that you'll both be ok but it's just not working?

There's time. There's space. Your one day aged thumbs will thank you.

I'd say Pick up the phone, but I assume you're already holding it.

Now dial like you mean it.

 

 

originally published for the field guide at folkrebellion.com

I Love You More Than Plates by Rachel Roderman

As far as I can tell the evolution to becoming an adult woman is as follows: Learn to walk, learn to talk, learn to learn, learn to love, learn to love home appliances and furniture like it’s your own flesh and blood, learn to deal with menopause.

I can distinctly remember nothing worse than walking around Crate & Barrel with my parents. These solemn excursions happened often, yet because there were no free-roaming Backstreet Boys in this unfortunate C&B, it was therefore useless to me as a thirteen-year-old. What is a “decanter”? What do you mean “curtain panels”? A sconce? I don’t take Latin. It was all Greek to me, particularly the vast selection of urns. I don’t know exactly when we ladies blossom into Throw Pillow Ninjas but it happens swiftly and silently and there’s no turning back.

Creating an amazing space to call home is—and should be—a joyous process. There are days I’ve gone into not one, but two Crate & Barrels, its younger company CB2, a Cost Plus World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store and looked at every single item on Amazon.com’s home section. And that’s just before lunch. I love a decorative bar tray as much as the next girl, but this housewares obsession is starting to evolve into a new beast that I just can’t fully get behind: The wedding registry.

The wedding registry isn’t a new thing by any means. Generations upon generations have waited for their moment to ask their closest friends and family for a tea set or china or proper bedding. Perhaps my view of this sacred shopping list is over-thought and plates are a perfectly normal thing to ask your BFFs to buy you. But as the people closest to me embark on a life of love with their eternal partner by sending the links to their most desired selection of goods, it becomes as clear as a Vintage Inspired Aluminum Trim Acrylic Mod Locker: How well can I really know a person, a person whom I thought I knew like the back of my hand, who has a strong affinity for a 3-in-1 Egg Slicer? I get it. It’s cheap. What’s the big deal? I should just buy it for them since they asked for it after all. Santa never countered my Christmas list with “Well that’s a silly thing to ask for considering you could ask for anything.” Although to be fair, I am half Jewish so who knows what Santa really felt. I never did get that Barbie Jeep.

Which brings me to my main point: If we have the opportunity to register for anything we want, why are we wasting our list space with egg slicers, my friends? Sure, the towels and the plates are safe and often inexpensive, I understand. That extended family who hasn’t seen you since you were 14 would LOVE to contribute to your cabinets. When I see those dinner plates, all I think is how our friendship is so much more. Buying you towels make me feel a little weird that they’ll be all over your wet body, since, well, that’s not the kind of friendship we have and you’re getting married for goodness sake! For every ceramic white choice, both literally and metaphorically, I try to look for the Cool item, the Fun item, the ‘We Probably Won’t Get This’ item. I scan those registries for the most awesome item I can find/afford. And if I can’t find it in the bed or the bath then I’m going to the beyond. Not even the Container Store could wrangle the creativity flowing in my gift-giving brain department. . .This MOH is going DIY.

I can feel the brides’ eyes getting nervous. But I actually like that 3-In-1 Egg Slicer! I hate manually slicing eggs! I understand. I am a good friend. Which is why I will get you that egg slicer even though I don’t know that the other two parts of the 3-in-1 are. But that egg slicer is under $20 and you mean more to me that $20! So now, am I supposed to get you a 3-In-1 Egg Slicer and a random other thing? What goes with Egg Slicers? You didn’t register for a Cucumber Slicer! That would’ve at least been along the same slicey theme. I guess I could go with the Knife Sharpener Set. . . but then why do you need an Egg Slicer if you’ve got such sharp knives? Aye, there’s the rub. Oh great. Should I add the Gourmet BBQ Spice Rub set?

My instinct is to use your registry as merely a suggestion vision board. Sure you signed up for a wooden, rectangular cutting board, but you’re no square! Wouldn’t you rather have a cutting board shaped like the state you both met in with a gold star in the first city you said I love you?

I see you’re jonesing for a serious amount of stemware and, since I’ll be the one at your humble abode drinking out of said stemware, I know we’ll end up playing games or like, usual, wish we had games to play. Wouldn’t it be fun if Nana and Grampy gave you the Crystal Martini Glasses and I set you up with a whole basket of Game Night essentials so we can finally find out how bad we are at playing Settlers of Catan?

A pasta maker, you say! I’ve known you for fifteen years and have never seen you hand-make pasta ever and I don’t think it’s for lack of a proper pasta maker. BUT, I know that that pasta maker is just a place holder until you can get your tush over to Italy for your honeymoon with your new sweetheart. . . so here’s a guidebook to Italy and a RailEurope gift card to jumpstart your vacay. Think of me when the love of your life uses their nose to slide a meatball onto your side of the spaghetti.

All I’m asking is this: Instead of a spatula, I want to see someone take advantage of legitimately asking for a $400 robot that vacuums their living room while they’re out hanging with the ladies. Instead of a vase, I encourage you to request an awesome SLR Camera that can capture memories without using all your cellular data. And to those of you who aren’t engaged or planning on getting married any time soon or at all, I implore you to engage instead in the utter enjoyment of creating your ultimate wish list and sending it to everyone you know just in case someone was looking for an excuse to snag you a little somethin’ somethin’.

Who knows, you may end up with the camping gear you’ve always wanted.

Either that, or some really durable flatware.

 

originally published on hellogiggles.com

Love & Bagels: The Circles of Life by Rachel Roderman

I recently avoided all responsibilities relating to being a contributing member of the working class by jetting out of my office in Los Angeles and heading to Madrid to visit a roommate of mine with whom I lived while studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland. She is one of the most dynamic humans I’ve ever met and over the past five years, we have been apart from each other far more than a part of each other’s lives, like we’d much prefer. I am her favorite Jewish friend. She is my favorite half-Colombian, half-British, raised-in-France tri-lingual friend. It’s about even.

As females do, we Carrie Bradshawed (I made that a verb) and she told me of her current relationships and past loves over tapas and wine, an order which she translated. Living in Los Angeles, I know billboard Spanish and solely billboard Spanish. I can recognize the words for sale (la venta), accidents (accidentes) and “i’m lovin’ it” (me encanta), but that’s about it. After I met her, I asked for a French Rosetta Stone from my parents to enhance my terrible high school fluency, but I guess life got a bit busy or I got a bit lazy and it’s been in the box for a few years, leaving me merely pretty great at English.

It’s impossible to detect time advancing and life changing until you bring up all the things that have happened between the ages of 20 and 25, in which case the entire world immediately feels almost over and entirely lost to hangovers and heartbreak and blissful, stressful happiness. I told her about the end of college and she told me about her world travels. I told her about a boy from Pittsburgh and she questioned why any place would be named “Pittsburgh”—a fair question when you grow up in romanticized Lyon. The only thing we don’t see eye to eye on is the name for eggplant—she prefers “aubergine.” Her most recent love is one with a Colombian boy living and more notably, a Colombian boy who only speaks Spanish. She had concerns about being in a relationship where she couldn’t speak to her boyfriend in the language in which she spoke to her own mother.

Most disconcerting of all, he had no idea what a bagel was.

“I was talking about breakfast and I mentioned a bagel and he looked at me. I had to describe a bagel. I had to translate what a bagel was. How can you love someone who doesn’t know about bagels?”

There I was, sitting in Madrid talking about bagels with a girl who five years earlier thought I celebrated Heineken. It was a moment of clarity and confusion because it was just about a bagel and possibly a champagne problem of being trilingual, but it wasn’t just about a bagel. It was about a lifestyle and a relationship and a future that could be lost in translation without the excuse of not knowing the language. Except that the bagel was a language all itself.

I thought about my history and relationship with bagels and my history and relationships because of bagels. My favorite part of fasting was breaking fast with lox and bagels—creating towers of tomatoes and salmon, perfecting my deli Jenga one ingredient at a time. My childhood Sunday mornings would start with an inconspicuous brown paper bag left on the kitchen island filled with an assorted dozen by my father who had left to play golf. Hangovers in college were cured with egg sandwiches on sub-par bagels smushed in a sub-par bagel guillotine but they were bagels and memories nonetheless.

My LA office serves and entire table of bagels and spreads everyday for breakfast and even though everyone has gained a significant amount of weight, no one seems to be complaining because it is impossible to hate a bagel and even more impossible to hate a free one. All of my carbless diets have ended with the sight of a bagel accompanied usually by my family whom I love and cherish sitting around the table gorging themselves as well.

I remember my grandparents telling me the story of how my grandfather preferred the hard outside of a bagel and would scoop out the inside just for my grandmother who preferred the soft inside. It’s how I defined and knew they were in love.

Love was finding someone to eat a bagel with.

Each bready circle of life was a milestone or at least merely a memory of something enjoyable. I’ve never cried while having a bagel although I don’t put it past myself since a lot of outdoor movies let you bring your own food now. LIke the rings of a tree determining its age, I’m sure that my bisection would reveal my happiness was directly proportional to the amount of bagels I had consumed. All of a sudden this “You say ‘potato,’ I say ‘bagel, schmear, lox, and tomatoes,” moment evolved from “Just tell him what a bagel is,” to “You should join Match.com and make your only pre-requisite ‘Bagel Lover.’”

I couldn’t imagine settling for a life without bagels, physical or metaphorical, even though when I did I was much thinner and less bloated. They signified comfort and family just like English meant speaking to your mother and telling her you love her.

After a weekend of realizations and sunshine we drove to the airport. Both with jealousy in our eyes, mine for wanting her life of gallivanting around Europe without boundaries, hers for my life between New York and Los Angeles surrounded by people who know about bagels, we said goodbye… in English. She would see her boyfriend after she got back home and whether she educated him about bagels or not, I do not know.

Sometimes a bagel is just a bagel. And sometimes a bagel is everything.

 

originally published on hellogiggles.com

HOW KRISTEN WIIG MADE ME CRY by Rachel Roderman

May is always a tricky month for me, emotionally. It’s allergy season, graduation season, wedding season and worst of all, the end of the yearly television season. As a society, we see our single friends bond into become couples, our children grow up into adults and our favorite faces abandon our weekly boob tube routine. This May has been no different.

This week, along with America’s college seniors, America’s favorite Saturday Night Live actor graduated to a career on the big screen. Much like college, she made me laugh, made me cringe, made me anxious and jealous and envious and proud to be a witness. Most of the time she even made me want to be her. So it makes sense that the last thing Kristen Wiig did on SNL was make me cry–it was the only thing left to be done. Luckily, I can blame any and all tears on the blooming hydrangeas.

I’ve only met a few people who don’t aspire to be as funny or successful as Kristen Wiig and that’s because they’re accountants and no one likes someone who’s funny with money. If I garner half the awe and respect for my career as she has gained for hers, a mere “Kristen Toupee” to her full “Kristen Wiig” if you will–get it? oh I’m not there yet? I’ll work on it?–I’d be a happy, happy girl. I refused to believe the rumors that hit the headlines months ago suggesting she was on the outs in order to pursue a more focused film career. It didn’t make sense. Saturday Night Live seemed to exist for her and her for it. A match made in comedy heaven like that should never be broken. Why would she ever let Kat abandon Garth? What would Hoda Kotb do without Drunk Kathy Lee? And selfishly, I wondered what was I going to do without all her weirdos making me look normal. Target Lady? Penelope? Aunt Linda? Gross Shanna? Mindy Grayson?

As she graduated from Saturday Night Live this past weekend, she summed up her seven years of redefining “character work” by dancing awkwardly with Mick Jagger while holding back tears as a seasoned group of clowns put on their suits and got real for a second to say goodbye and good luck. She’s proved time and time again that she graciously has the world in the palm of her illustrious, hilariously under-sized hand. And that she can hug Jon Hamm as many times as she wants. Good riddance, good luck, you deserve it and call me?

While her final graduation sketch was only a fake ceremony, the look on her face resembled many mixed emotions I’d seen exactly three years before sitting at my own college graduation: Excited faces of students who knew the purpose of going to college was to eventually graduate and move on to bigger things with the knowledge and practice they’d acquire, terrified faces of students who just realized that the purpose of going to college was to eventually graduate and move on to bigger things, nostalgic faces of students who already missed the friends they were sitting next to and smiling, glowing faces acknowledging that they’ve just had the most fun of their entire life. Or maybe it was more the face of a spring allergy sufferer in a windy field of pollen.

There are a lot of articles gracing the internet, especially now after her last show, posing every type of question from “Is she the best female SNL has ever seen?” to “Can she really survive without SNL?” and because this is America, we’re all free to ask and answer. Her movies make money. Her characters are funny. Her website is just a doodle and her name. Again, she’s friends with Jon Hamm. It seems like she’s having fun, creating a life filled with love and friendship and  laughter and a lot of hard work that’s paid off so far. All the while, I’m not so convinced she even really cares what anyone else thinks or says. At the same time, there’s a new crop of 22 year old grads primed for worrying about what people are going to post about their jobs or unemployment or if they’re funny or rich or using the right resume font and I hope they don’t really care either.

The only thing left to do now is wait for her “Best Of” DVD to release into pre-order and get my Triangle Sally Halloween costume ready. 

“There’s no time,” I heard her say. “Catch your dreams before they slip away.”