Traveling with Co-Workers: An Obsession with Steak Tartare

There are co-workers that are close friends and then there are co-workers that are strictly co-workers and will never be anything more. Occasionally the lucky pair that consider themselves pals on and off the clock will be given the opportunity to travel on the company’s dime and have a ball. The other set which may be just as fortunate to head out beyond the office space together will painfully smile through it all and nit-pick the other behind closed quarters to all their friends and family.

Tonight, I consider you (the readers) my friends and family for I am trapped in situation number two. Sometime last month I believe I made note that I would be touring the north east corner of the country on a mobile marketing gig. Fantastic for me considering how I’ve never been to Vermont and Maine and can’t wait for next year when I finally get to check them out. On the road sharing this experience with me is my co-worker and strictly co-worker, who will remain unnamed for now until things totally escalate out of control. With our situation we basically have to spend every waking moment of the day with each other and to sum my feelings on that up, let me just say it’s um, alright. Yes, she is a nice sweet person and in spending so much time together I’ve come to learn several interesting things about her, but nothing more interesting than her obsession with steak tartare. (Yes, the freshest of raw red ground beef served with onions, capers and seasonings.) It is her mission in every big or slightly decent sized city to sample the dish even if she’s had it the previous night, because you can never have enough fresh raw red meat.

Well last night I almost reached that limit where a person can stand no more with their co-worker and their annoying bicker-babble on gross food topics. We had just pulled into the Best Western in the lovely and historic Gettysburg, PA (a very all-American sort of place) and while checking in at the front desk she inquires not about the local flavor, but whether any Frenchies have assumed the position in a cozy little bistro or cafe where they are serving steak tartare. The bar-tender who had just walked up and a man on business along with the front desk lady all pause for a moment before laughing. This is where I make my exit and start backing away slowly, for I did not want to be mistaken for a raw meat-eating carnivore and wished to engage no more in this conversation. I hear them say, “This is Gettysburg. You think there is some place to get steak tartare?” I’m dying on the inside. My stomach turns and I run to the elevator. I say a silent prayer so that I don’t have to deal with hearing about this or her other unique tastes until my contract ends in April 07′.

But please – as much as many of you probably agree with me out there (because you always take the Gadling blogger’s side) I must be sure that you do not paint me to be an angel free of annoying co-worker bicker-babble. I’m sure my daily marathon training talk is enough to make her hurl up the last serving of steak tartare. The two just don’t mesh well. So I’m asking you for tips on how you deal with co-workers that you just don’t click with while traveling for work. I want to hear stories. I’m sure some of you have been in my shoes or perhaps you have some positive feedback to offer. Yes… perhaps there is some constructive criticism to be provided here. I’ve searched Google, but found nothing of great help except this Q&A article on not discussing your mental illness with your co-workers.

The day she tells me she has a mental illness – I’m out of here.