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Friday, December 26, 2008

"The Princess of Soho"?

There are many opportunities to meet random people on the streets of NYC. I definitely have met my fair share of them and am no stranger to undulging in fleeting encounters with strangers, especially since I have spent ample time passing out free samples and such out there. I have learned a lot from these interactions and mostly have fully enjoyed them, but every now and again they can encourage you not to be so friendly.

I've recently been temping at an office in Soho where I pass a newspaper man on the corner. We have always had strange interactions, basically since I am not stopped to speak with him, and he speaks in a really thick accent I can't really understand, and he often hands me something for free. The first time was just an ad insert to the paper, something that normally falls out on the floor of the subway that just irritates you. This baffled me. He has handed me an actual paper a couple times. He sometimes tries to speak with me but we never quite connect as I am in a rush, and it always leaves me feeling weird. I was starting to warm up to our weird relationship until the day he handed me a free pass to get into a night club that weekend. Now he seemed skeevy, trying to promote these side businesses and soliciting to people who aren't even stopping to support the business he is there for.

The day before Christmas Eve I was rushing past, just after 9am...clearly late for work, and he starts attempting to converse again as I stopped to wait for the light. Soon the late changed and I was stuck there as he handed me an envelope he dug out...and begun to say that he had a dress for me...and asked what size I was. Stunned and confused I attempted to answer him when he said "...eh...what size? You are large, right?". I am not sure what I said as I was just entirely confused all around and had no interest in getting this dress from him anyway when he promised he would bring it for me tomorrow.

So once again I walked away from this man amused and perplexed and only a tad offended that he just called me "large". As I entered my office, much later now, I opened my envelope to find a Xmas card. Did he have several of these prepared to hand out to the strangers he connects with that day? Had he originally intended to hand ME this specific card? No, I thought, he just had some pre-written ones to spread random cheer. Was there going to be a flyer for a club inside? A coupon for a sample sale? Surely there must be some other motive. All I found inside was a card with several of the possible holiday messages scrawled inside, and it was written "To The Princess of Soho". It took me by surprise and suddenly I felt horrible for thinking anything irritating about him. Suddenly I felt like a princess! Only I still wasn't 100% sure he hadn't just written out a few of those to hand to any of the ladies he sees. But it made me smile, and even more grateful that I tend to indulge these random encounters, even if it is only half-heartedly sometimes.