Ever wondered what’s like to be someone else. Well I’ve been there, and it was … quite curious and wonderful.
One lunch-hour in Manhattan in September 1978, I went to Bloomingdales at 60th and 2nd Avenue. I left the store and headed south down 2nd Avenue when a very attractive and very well-dressed woman approached me with a broad smile. Without hesitation, she put her arm around my back and started talking to me about a very intimate and personal legal matter.
As we made our way south, block after block, I would periodically nod, smile … say yes …
Apparently, I appeared to be an identical twin to her attorney … including my voice, stature, hair … even my suit.
As we reached 49th Street, I stopped, smiled, looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Sorry, Madam, but I am not your attorney. However, I assure you that I will keep everything you have said in the strictest confidence You have my guarantee as a gentleman. I’m heading west now to my office at 49th & 6th, and I wish you a good day.”
While she looked a bit startled, she smiled, said, “Thank you” – and nodded good-bye. I guess I was a shoulder for her to unload on in her cathartic moment and gave her some solace. Also, I thought, hmmm, my hourly rate is far too low.
A lesson here is that first impressions can be deceiving. Perhaps she had been thinking of her lawyer and what she would say to him when I appeared. Her brain concluded that there I was, and she unloaded without further thought. I hope her rehearsal of what she would tell her lawyer had a benefit for her. It left me in a quandary.
When you make assumptions about people, both of you may get confused. Always check out your assumptions. They can be dangerous – even (or especially) when you have a really good-looking lawyer.