When I moved downtown over four years ago I knew no-one. I decided that I would try to make contact with a complete stranger every day, on the grounds that good friends arose out of casual acquaintances, and I’d have no casual acquaintances unless I reached out, kept my head up and greeted strangers at every reasonable opportunity.
It has worked. I have wriggled my way into organized groups, and become a known-face at several establishments. More than that, downtown is now MY area, and I can reach out to help people – tourists who are lost, people trailing a coat-belt through the mud, and so on.
Better yet, people now approach me, perhaps because I have an air of confidence.
So yesterday I was not at all surprised when a young man in the Yorkville Public Library asked me if I knew how to tie a necktie. I said I did, and he held out his necktie and asked me to tie it for him.
Turns out he was waiting to go for a job interview. I suspect that his shirt and necktie were borrowed, perhaps the long trousers too.
I was not about to put my arms around his neck, so took the necktie to tie it around MY neck, the plan being to transfer the knotted tie to his neck in a minute or so.
Stap me! I can no longer tie a necktie.
It has been four years since I have tied a necktie and once I began to analyze what I was doing, my fingers and hands went in every direction but the right one.
After seven attempts I managed to construct a resemblance of a knot that looked casual.
Here’s the odd part: I have been wearing a shirt and tie since I started school at Sunny Bank in 1952. For sixty-four years at primary school, secondary school, university and nigh-on fifty years in business I have worn a necktie to work.
Allowing two hundred working days in a year, plus fifty church-on-Sundays I must have tied a necktie sixteen thousand times. At least. Some days I would put on a necktie, take it off, and then re-don it later in the day.
Sixteen thousand knots – Windsor knots and Half-Windsor knots – and today I am at a loss.
I am still Saddened by the Building Construction to the north of me.
I sit on my couch facing north, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Providing that there is no cloud, the Early Sun streams in from the west, hits the far building at an angle of 45º and then bounces into my living-room. Into my face.
This Late-Afternoon Sunshine too, reflected, but sunshine nonetheless, will soon be gone.