William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 41 - Schoenbachler

June 11, 2016


The experience at the location above the Hines Gallery was an accelerated exposure to elements of expression both intentional and unintentional. The opportunity to absorb the experience through physical proximity, created a base of desirable information that opened a time release type of access to an infinite flow of welcomed influence. My life experience to this day continues to enjoy the ambiguous, cerebral nourishment as a time and place sensitive flow of real time information.
We continued to enjoy the location on 5th Avenue, however, a sense of isolation and distraction was occurring. Being away from the energy of the downtown core created a disconnect from the vibe of the city, which I missed. A couple of years flew by. During this time I was in communication with Robert Schoenbachler; an occasional phone call back and forth, just staying in touch. One day Robert called indicating he was in the hospital, having had his gallbladder removed. We talked about the fact that he had been away from business for a few days, and that it might be a week or so before he would be able to return to work. He was concerned about his business and made the request, if it were possible, of me to visit his salon to give him an assessment of how things seemed to be going. I agreed to pay a visit, which turned out to be a nightmare. Upon entering the salon I was greeted by a woman laying on a sofa with no intention of getting up. This just about told the whole story. It was clear to whatever extent there had been some degree of professional decorum; it was now absolutely every person for themselves. I did a quick walk through after introducing myself, explaining that I was there on behalf of Robert, sharing his concern for how things were going. Robert was in touch with a couple of employees, each of whom gave him information which was a total fabrication of what was really going on. In fairness to everyone involved, I must say, Robert was not a business oriented individual. In retrospect, it came as no surprise...the absence of structure would allow a prompt collapse.


Sharing my assessment with Robert, while he was just out of the hospital was difficult. Unfortunately the business was in such severe breakdown there was no way to try to take the edge off of what needed to be said. Robert was aware of his shortcomings as an administrator, consequently the information came as no surprise. Robert responded in a manner of complete disbelief, with harsh criticism delivered with a more than fair amount of expletives. As he calmed down, and the reality of his personal response hung in the air, as a testament to his lack of managerial skills -- it was a moment of clarity for which I give him credit. Realizing the futility of his situation Robert turned on his gift of charm. His gift of charm connected with my incurable desire to save the day, created the most unexplainable experience of my career. I agreed to visit the salon daily, with the intention that my presence would help stabilize the fragmentation. The futility of that experience became obvious. When Robert was able to return to the business a more serious approach was offered.

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