The most fulfilling thing about jury duty was not the long periods of waiting or listening to medical testimony or searching for a decent place to eat in downtown Brooklyn.
It was meeting the other jury members, all of whom were genuine people who believed in doing good, most of them long-time New Yorkers. I imagine if a subway car broke down and the riders had a chance to talk, the experience would be similar.
There were six of us, three men and three women. The roster reads a little like the Breakfast Club - there were working mothers, a musician, a fellow who worked nights and had trouble staying awake during the trial, a local celebrity who spoke six languages, a shy first-generation Polish woman and me.
Our animated conversations involved Cuba, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, I Love Lucy, President Obama and most of all, how hard it is to get by in New York. There was much loud laughter and a feeling of camaraderie.
We were deciding whether to award a man money for injuries sustained from a hit-and-run accident five years ago. These are tough times for accident lawsuits, by the way. If you have a history of suing people or claiming disability based on little medical evidence, I would not start another lawsuit just now. You're not likely to have a sympathetic jury.
Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. The money will stay in the pot for someone who truly deserves it. It's kind of nice to make a decision not for self-interest but for a common good. We jury members parted ways, walking a little taller, with a feeling of shared hopefulness.
Related posts: Going Postal, in Midtown, On the Market and On Manhattan Buildings and Brooklyn Beer.