Today I had jury duty at Brooklyn Civil Court. It was fantastic. One woman ran the whole thing and it was kind of professionally amazing for me to watch: every direction she gave was perfectly clear and impossible to misunderstand and represented the most efficient way for the group to complete a task. I was really impressed. Also, it was not unpleasant at all: they had a shelf of free books, captioned CNN, and free wifi. She was so incredibly efficient that most of us got dismissed at 12:40 and had the rest of the afternoon off. I had a 3 hour nap and now feel very calm and happy.
And speaking of this, I had a really terrific experience last time I got my passport renewed. I had lost the previous one in Canada (amazingly, they let me back over the border with only an expired college ID). I needed to get a new one in under two weeks, because I was flying domestically but didn't have any other official ID. But the urgent need for a new passport was complicated by the fact that I didn't have my old passport, didn't have a driver's license or other government ID, and have an English birth certificate that's really just a hand-written note.
I could see trouble coming. But I ended up speaking to some customer service lady at the passport agency who arranged to expedite the replacement approval and send it overnight delivery for about $100 extra, and I had it four days later. On the phone, I almost couldn't believe it was happening.
well done, government agencies!