Except when internally distracted, I’m able to ignore the sights and sounds around me while reading. This ability to concentrate comes in handy for lawyering, since I can review documents almost anywhere, including public places. Due to this morning’s incident, however, I’ve decided to cross the hair salon off my list of acceptable reading venues.
Weeks ago, I’d scheduled a haircut for 10:00 a.m. today. I’d later scheduled a settlement meeting for 11:00 a.m. Since I badly needed a haircut, I didn’t want to cancel. And though I’d have no leeway, I thought there’d be just enough time to visit the salon and make the meeting too.
Because I knew the barber would wash my hair before cutting, I didn’t touch my head after awakening. I simply covered my noggin with a baseball cap and departed as is.
When I parked the car at the mall, I checked my phone for email. I found an urgent client communication. To my surprise, he’d attached a ten-page memorandum of pertinent facts, issues and strategy considerations he wanted me to review for the settlement meeting. Given the time constraints, I realized I’d have to read the memo in the barber’s chair, or not at all. But knowing how anal and demanding my client could be, I concluded: barber’s chair it is.
I began reading while waiting to get seated. Unfortunately, my regular stylist had run late and a couple of minutes passed before the first available alternate freed up. As a result, by the time the woman asked me what I wanted, I’d become engrossed in the memo. I barely registered her question, and responded by reflexively doffing my cap and telling her to “do it the same, but shorter.”
I didn’t glance at the mirror once. Even when the stylist tapped me on the shoulder to view the final product, I didn’t look up. I simply mumbled “I’m sure it’s fine” and continued reading. I finished the memo as I walked to the car.
I first learned of the “problem” upon entering the conference room at my adversary’s office. Each time I greeted someone, his eyes registered surprise. After a single glance at me, opposing counsel mockingly flashed the Vulcan peace sign (raised palm with fingers split) and intoned “live long and prosper, Richard,” before adding: “Did you just get back from Dragon*Con?”
It didn’t take a genius to figure out my new do was to blame. Excusing myself, I made a beeline for the men’s room. Upon reaching its mirror, I took my first peek at the barber’s work. As I belatedly realized, a combination of bedhead and baseball cap compression must’ve flattened my normally spiky hairdo. I supposed my sideburns had somehow gotten tapered as well, though how remained a mystery. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t deny the result. Substitute a Starfleet uniform for my suit and add pointy ears, and I would’ve looked right at home at Dragon*Con, or at any other Sci-fi convention … as Mr. Spock!