Gabi came to Chicago to do something she quickly found out she didn’t want to do after all. When she returned from the arts program Atlanta in 1996 she took a secretarial job.
My big skill, for years, she tells me, Was to do the same thing over and over again at the exact same pace for 10 hours a day. I would call people and be like, Did you answer the survey? Oh, You didn’t answer it? Oh, You don’t know where the survey is? Let me fax you another copy. It was a crazy job.
It was also a frustrating one, as I recall, and Gabi and I had several six-packs worth of discussions about the nature of feminism at the time.
When I moved here, she explains, I worked for a lot of super strong women who—it was like, I couldn’t square it. Strong women who weren’t running work places that were very empowering. That’s my most diplomatic way of putting it. I had a host of jobs where I was like, Wow. I respect you as a strong woman, but I really can’t deal with the way you’re treating me. She laughs.
What’s amazing to me, I tell her, is that you stayed here.
Here’s my logic about Chicago. I’ve got it worked out. I work it out every year around mid-February.