I saw him again today; the man with the turquoise tie.
There's always a bit of a bottleneck outside the station; the school coach waits to mop up its quota of reluctant scholars and simpletons; the "I'm late for the train" last-minute drivers tut and fume, trying to push their way through to the car park; the stay-at-home wives manoeuvre round the narrow entrance lane in their four-by-fours, dropping off their breadwinners before heading off for a day of all the things I say I'd like to do, but probably wouldn't really.
He stands patiently at the side of the road, waiting for a break in the traffic, unwilling to step out into the unpredictable stop-start line of vehicles. The gently swaying briefcase in his hand is the only sign of movement as I drive past.
Without his tie he'd be Mr Monochrome, dressed in a pale grey suit and white shirt, with an ashen face and silver white hair; without his neck-wear, I know I wouldn't notice him. But today, as I continue my journey to work, I find myself thinking and wondering about the man with the turquoise tie.
I picture him arriving at his office. Taking his sandwich bag and papers from the briefcase, tucking his lunch in a drawer and neatly lining up the pile of reports on his desktop. He doesn't invite conversation with the others; he still hasn't quite got used to the open-plan arrangements they introduced last year. His desk is in the corner, but he preferred it when there was a small room, with a door to shut, a door to be politely knocked on before entering. Some of his colleagues throw out a loud good morning as they pass his desk, but they don't stop to talk and they've already gone past before his mumbled response is half out.
He switches on the computer, wondering what instant responses his inbox will demand today. While he waits for the cursor to point its accusing finger, he reflects on the days when memos and internal mail envelopes gave at least two days grace, the days when a thoughtful measured approach, steeped in experience and expertise were things to be admired, not impatiently tolerated or worse, derided.
Then he shifts in his chair, pulls himself upright. Today will be alright, because today he is wearing his turquoise tie. The one Christine gave him for his birthday three years ago; the one she suggested he put on this morning. He is already smiling when he thinks of the way she came up and draped it over his shoulder as he stood indecisively in front of the wardrobe mirror. She didn't need to say anything, just a nod and a smile, and he knew that she was right. Today will be fine because in just twelve hours there will be another nod and a smile as she slowly and carefully unties the knot and slips the tie from round his neck.
And today will be good, because without even knowing it, the man with the turquoise tie has reminded me that there are kind quiet people, who live and love, and make the world a better place simply by being.