The other day I saw a commercial for hair plugs and for some reason it lead to a flashback of someone I worked with quite some time ago. Here is the story or perhaps I should say 'Hair is the story', you will see why in a moment.
I was one week into a new assignment with a consulting firm. I had been called to replace someone who had been unable to make a particular client happy.Our client, a Chief Information Officer (CIO), was a demanding customer. I definitely had mixed feelings about being handed this assignment.
Unfortunately my first meeting with the CIO was to discuss why the project estimates he had been given were way off base. Our account manager who had sworn his undying support to me called in sick the day of the meeting.
I was a nervous wreck. I walked into the CIO’s office and immediately
noticed that this man had a toupee. Not just any toupee, but the worst piece of
fake hair I had ever seen. (Not that I was an expert, but bad is bad.) It was
also a bit crooked and part of me wanted to reach up and straighten it out. (I
did restrain myself.) So there it was on his head, this bad crooked hat made
out of synthetic hair.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a wig. There are many reasons why several of us might don a wig during our lifetime. This was several years ago. Options were limited, I am not sure hair plugs and transplants were available to anyone outside of Hollywood and it was not fashionable to shave your head. I get it, he was not ready to be bald.
So there I was, nervous, awkward and staring. I could not stop looking at this man’s head. Every place he moved (he walked around the office a bit during our conversation), there were my eyes, on his head, waiting for that toupee to fall off or walk off or jump off his head and attack me (because it could have been a rabid cat). Maybe he did not even have eyes or a nose. How would I have known? I was completely transfixed by his toupee. YES, I should have been more mature and in more control of my behavior. For some reason my case of nerves turned into an inability to visually focus on anything other than his head.
Eventually the meeting wrapped up. For an entire hour I had spoken to the top of his head. Now it was time for me to depart. I started my exit line and froze, I could not believe what I was saying and yet I could not take it back, nor could I finish my sentence.
I looked at his toupee and said, “Well I guess now it's time for me to get out of your…..”
The unfinished sentence hung there for what felt like an eternity. To his credit, he looked at me kindly and calmly and said, “You mean, now it's time for you to get out of my hair?” I could not leave that office quickly enough.