I Was in Jury Duty With Donald Trump
He complimented the clerk. We talked about lunch. I got temporarily famous.
After I made it through the sea of reporters huddled on the courthouse steps and through security, I found my way to the jury selection room and took a seat in the back row. I chatted with a friend from school (who had also been selected) about our study-abroad experiences and the coming semester.
Then Donald, who had been standing in the back of the room, took a seat three chairs away. The millennial urge to take a selfie immediately struck me.
After a few test runs with my camera, I was ready for the Snapchat.
I started with an image of myself and slowly panned it to the left capturing the Donald in all his glory. I labeled it “just your average day at jury duty.” I posted it to my story. I posted it to the New York Snapchat story. Then I went back to talking to my friend.
I have to say: I felt a little weird about taking a covert Snapchat. It seemed like everyone in the room was sneaking photos of the poor guy as he sat there talking to no one and doing nothing.
After the two women in between us left, I worked up the courage to talk to him. As a life-long New Yorker, I’ve always said I feel comfortable speaking to anyone.
“What are you eating for lunch?” I asked.
He kind of chuckled and told me he hadn’t thought about it. That had to be a lie because there’s little else to think of during the morning session.
An announcement broke up further conversation and then I was swarmed by reporters asking for my name, age, and reaction to the conversation. Minutes passed and I decided to talk to him again.
“Is it nice to have a break from the campaign trail?” I asked. He laughed again.
“It’s certainly different,” he said.
“What would you do as president to speed up this jury selection process?” I said, joking.
“I think this is pretty good,” he replied.
I have to agree with him, actually. Irene, the jury clerk who was running the selection process, was full of energy and clear in her directions. We talked a bit more about how good of a job she was doing before another announcement for lunch rang out. We all got up and left.
It didn’t take long for my phone to start blowing up with texts from friends telling me that my video had become famous. Snapchat picked up my video for their New York story, websites had written articles about my Snapchat, and ABC wanted to interview me. I found the whole thing hilarious and somewhat exhilarating.
However, when I started looking at some of the sites that posted my video, I was disappointed to see that many of them claimed that my Snapchat showed Trump napping. The jury duty room is one of the most boring places on Earth, so it’s not uncommon for people to close their eyes and try to visualize a happier place. Trump closed his eyes from time to time, but I can definitively say he was never napping.
I felt somewhat complicit in what was becoming a big lie.
I guess I haven’t had time to reflect on my conversation with Trump or my video’s rise to fame. I’m not voting for Trump, and my complete rejection of his political and social views remain intact.
But I will say this: He didn’t have to speak to the random 22-year-old who tried to start a conversation with him nor did he have to praise the work of the clerk in the jury selection room.
Tomorrow, he’ll go back to being a fire-breathing presidential candidate, but today he was just another New Yorker sitting in the jury room.