When your presumptuous assumptions were wrong

I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this trip to Michigan for these three days because I was planning to travel with a colleague I’d never met before. We’ve been working together since January, yet she’s been camera shy when doing video/voice calls while using Zoom, and I could hear her strong midwestern accent every single time we spoke. She’s a remote employee based in Columbus, and I really had no idea what kind of person she was at all. All I know is that Ohio is a swing state, and there was a 50/50 chance that she would be a Trump supporter. And the idea of not only traveling with her, but also being in a car ride that would last 2.5 hours from Grand Rapids to Detroit yesterday with her, would be absolutely agonizing if I found out she really was a Trump supporter.

Luckily for me, during our first morning meet up yesterday, she started complaining about President Dipshit and in general, the Republican Party, so I knew it would be safe to talk about politics with her without either of us murdering the other. We talked a lot about our personal lives, where we grew up and have lived (she spent over 15 years living in San Francisco and the Bay Area), and our general opinions about politics, culture, and travel. We even spent nearly three hours voluntarily at dinner together at Roast, a Michael Symon restaurant that was attached to hotel we stayed at last night in downtown Detroit. It was funny to sit at the bar of this restaurant eating with her, as I remembered the first time I visited Detroit with Chris back in June 2014, we ate at this same restaurant and loved it.

When the trip concluded today with our final customer meeting and her driving me to the Detroit airport, I hugged her, thanked her for driving me all over Michigan, and departed for my flight back to New York City. And honestly, I felt kind of bad about my potential hesitations of who she was as a person. I actually had a lot of fun talking to her and getting to know her, but then I questioned myself and wondered… if she WERE a Trump supporter, how exactly would I have navigated that? Could I have handled it appropriately, especially given we’re colleagues and thus in a professional relationship? Not everyone I meet and work with is going to agree with my view of the world. That’s just reality. But when that time comes at work, what am I going to do then?

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