I was talking to an almost-bald guy the other day. He's young, which makes his hair loss all the more noticeable. We'd only just met, and I was trying to be friendly. It made no difference to me that he had thinning hair. When I meet people, appearance isn't foremost in my mind. Instead, I focus on what they have to say, on how they respond to teasing remarks, to whether or not they laugh at my jokes. I wasn't even thinking about Steve's balding head. Honest!
"Hi Steve!" I greet him as he enters the room. I'm standing by the coat rack, packing up to head out for some fresh air during our lunch break. "What brings you here? I certainly hope it's not to spend a Saturday afternoon with us--this morning was bad enough. And it's sure not a very exciting day off, if you ask me."
"No, I'm just waiting for my wife so we can go out to lunch. My Saturdays aren't much, though. I usually have to go into the office. I was there all morning."
"Too bad. I hate working Saturdays. But with the move and all, here we are, a whole day's worth of talk. We don't seem to have a choice. If we don't do this, it'll be utter chaos."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. But I'm starting to get excited about the move. I just checked out the new property on the way over here, and it's great!"
"Pretty cool, huh? With the added feature of being right next to the costume store!"
Steve laughs at my joke, bless him. "Sure, how convenient!"
"Yeah," I guffaw brazenly. "So easy to just stop in, pick up a wig."
There's a short silence while I look toward the exit.I can't put my finger on it, but I suddenly feel awkward. "Well, nice talking to you, but I'm outta here," I say, pushing past on my way out.
I know something is up, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Then it hits me: I said wig. I could have said monster costume, or bloodshot eyeballs, or severed hand, but no, I'd gone and said wig. All at once, I picture Steve wearing a bright purple wig, or a Captain Hook wig, or one of those black wigs with the skunk stripe down the middle. Is that what he thinks I meant? I'm mortified. I've been a total cad.
I wonder if hairpisodes are contagious.