Last week, in the envelope aisle of the Staples on Broadway a woman asked me if I thought she could fit two shirts in an 8×11 envelope.
Today it happened again: in Duane Reade a woman approached me and asked which of two makeup foundation colors matched her skin the best.
In both instances I thought–well what do I know? Do I look like an envelope size expert? Am I supposed to be some sort of makeup guru?
But it wasn’t about my knowledge, it’s just that New Yorkers have very little fear of strangers, and no inhibitions about asking for help when they need it. And during these small conversations, where I tilted my head and went “Hmmm, yes, I think that two shirts would fit in there, if you fold them up small enough” or “The darker one matches your skin tone better I think,” we formed a symbiotic relationship where the stranger was reassured they were making the right purchase and I was reassured that someone completely random valued my personal opinion.
These two miniscule interactions were enough to both baffle me and sky rocket my self confidence.