Monday, January 25, 2010

The Day a Naked Man Danced for Me in Public

In 1994, when I was about 6 months into my job at Hogan, I received an odd request from a partner. It seemed he was meeting with a client over the weekend and they were conducting some interviews for a high-level position the client was hiring for. The two people being interviewed were coming to our offices on a Saturday afternoon, when we were closed, and I was asked if I could meet the prospects in the lobby and keep them there until it was time for their interview.

It seemed like an easy way to score a couple of hours of overtime pay. I lived about 6 blocks away, this wasn't unduly burdensome, so I said yes.

As I was instructed, I kept the first interviewee in the lobby until the partner came down. Everything was uneventful and went smoothly.

The second man arrived about an hour later and decided that since he had to wait, he wanted to have a cigarette and wanted to know if we could go outside. I agreed and we went and sat on the benches outside of our 13th Street entrance. Now anyone who knows the building knows that there's kind of an alcove at that entrance where everyone used to gather to smoke during the week and it's almost completely hidden from public view . . . unless you happen to be sitting in a certain spot on the benches by the street.

We sat down on the bench with me facing the entrance to the building, so I could watch for the partner. From this position, I could also see straight into the alcove. In retrospect, this alcove must have not been very visible from inside the building either given what happened next.

As we're talking, I saw a tall, gangly, man walk into the alcove and assumed he was going to relieve himself. If only I'd been that lucky.

The next thing I know, the man is 100% naked, but for his cowboy boots and cowboy hat and he's dancing to music that evidently only he could hear. Now mind you, he's in the alcove, so I'm the only person who is privileged enough to see the show. He continued to dance for a few minutes and as much as I tried not to react, because I was mortified sitting there with a man I didn't know having another man I didn't know dance naked for me in the middle of the street in front of my office building, I must have reacted because the man I was speaking to finally turns around and sees the naked dancing man.

I'll never forget the look on his face. He asked me if this kind of thing happened often and we had a good laugh. Eventually, the naked dancing man got dressed and left.

Although I never told anyone of the incident (what could they do?), first thing Monday morning, the partner paid me a visit. Unaccustomed to law firm partners knowing me, much less visit my office, at that point in my career, I thought I was in trouble for not following instructions exactly with the second interviewee. Instead the partner said he'd heard about the incident, wanted to apologize for it (even though clearly it wasn't anything he could have controlled) and hoped I wasn't upset.

Nope, I wasn't upset. Embarrassed, yes. Upset, no.

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