He was working in the office next door and we would often end up in the same lift or see each other when making a brew in the kitchen. Being a smoker and going out for a fag several times a day, he would leave a trail of tobacco fumes in the lift and in the corridors. As a result, he seemed to be present even when he was not there in person.
Two-minute conversations rarely lead to deeper insights, and so it happened that we would more often than not start our exchange of trivialities with an assessment of the cold/windy/humid/rainy weather of the UK compared to the sunny haven of California.
He was only in London for a limited period, with work, always talking about his imminent return to the Golden State, retirement and time with the family. In fact, I only ever referred to him as ‘California’. He never got my name.
His much anticipated move back was days away, but then earlier this week he fell to the floor in said corridor, hit by a stroke. 30 minutes of resuscitation failed to bring him back to life.
Merry Christmas – make sure you enjoy it.