This blog goes out to my girl Jiffer Bourguignon, who is not only one of the Pink House denizens from the legendary mid-90s, but also happens to be one of my favorite people here on this lovely planet. We first met while she was going through sorority rush as a “rush chairman,” a weird little job that is definitely worth another blog entry (even if it reveals how much I know about sorority life at southern universities). We instantly hit it off with a Krispy Kreme fight that involved me smashing three cream-filled crullers into her face. She moved into the Pink House a few months later.
Jiffer and me six years ago today, Sept. 4, 1996
Jiffer and her friend Zia combined to make the character known as Zola in the Pink House movie, but in truth, they were much more surreal than movies can muster. Coy, brash, lovely, manly, flaky and faithful, Jiffer had a sort of dreamy quality that would be occasionally punctuated by bursts of profanity. Men tended to love her, I think, because they never saw her shoes, so smelly that we kept them out on the porch.
At a party on literally the last day of school, Jiff met a German exchange student (one in a long line of them) named Ingo who whooshed her home, floating on air. I remember sitting in the kitchen with her as she said, “Ian, I think this is really the one.” I said something sarcastic, but couldn’t help think her tone was a little different.
Then she said she was going into the Peace Corps. Having seen three years of her college antics, I didn’t believe her – but two months later, she was packing for Mauritania, commonly known as The Worst Place to Get Sent for the Peace Corps Ever. We all got wonderful emails from this place we’d never heard of, and she returned, twenty pounds lighter, directed and full of passion for her next move: grad school at Columbia.
I never believed she would get in, or that she would flourish; not for a lack of faith, but just because I’d had her pegged as someone else. Now she has just returned from Cambodia, by way of seeing Ingo in London, and the school has asked her to be the editor-in-chief of the graduate school magazine, a job coveted by some major heavy hitters. She’s truly amazing.
In the Pink House movie, the main character Murray is humbled by a housemate who shows him how wrongheaded, cynical and inaccurate his previous notions had been, how most of his theories are self-limiting crap, and how great the world can be if he opens himself up to the possibility that not everyone is predictable. It has taken me until tonight to realize I wrote that scene about me and Jiffer.
with the vivacious Dee Norton, Jiffer, and fellow PH alum Scott Bullock