That One Time I Almost Had Jury Duty
The Hall of Justice is a clean looking building…. on the outside. On the inside, it’s riddled with citizens of all shapes and sizes, ages and genders — some confused, some not. There’s a lot of hacking, sneezing, coughing and sniffling in this room. I predict a cold coming on… but nothing a bag of oranges won’t cure.
The process so far is as expected. Everyone said, “you’ll be waiting” and “waiting” and “waiting” and so I arrived, earlier this morning, tardy, after paying $13 for parking in an unmarked parking lot to the Hall of Justice. My wonder woman bracelet gave the metal detector a run for her money. We learned the second time around to take it off. I should just keep it off the whole time, but, I love this thing. It’s metal — thick band on my wrist with a marbled turquoise stone in the middle. It makes me look like one of the SuperFriends. Where better to wear a Wonder woman bracelet than in “The Hall of Justice”.
As I arrived, a long winded judge was speaking at the podium. He spoke of how important it is to be a juror, how difficult it is, and how one time a juror hugged him as he was making copies in the jury lounge?? What?? A hug from a juror to a judge? I know this may sound sweet, but to me it sounds corrupt. He’s an old man. He snagged a hug from one of the jurors. He spoke of it in a long, drawn out, lingering way as if he was verbally delivering his fantasies right in front of us at 8 am in the Hall of Justice. It was weird and gave me the “uh oh” feeling. At the end of his dissertation on fairness and just behavior… I warmed up to the old judge a bit and thought, “I might give him a hug someday too” this, of course, in a “I wish he were my grandpa and he’d tell great stories at our next family gathering”, but, in any case…. it was an interesting kick off to the morning.
Of course… I forgot my jury summons at home. This process is new to me and there’s too many words on that paper to keep my attention. So, I was called to “jury services” to get a replacement tag. On the way to “jury services” I went to the information desk to find out exactly where “jury services” was, and found my neighbor sitting at the desk. Of course, I don’t know her name, so I greeted her with, “Oh hi… you’re my neighbor.” She conveyed that she loves volunteering in the jury lounge because she knows everyone in town, and it makes her retirement interesting. The interesting part to me is that she is a self proclaimed “mover and shaker”. Now I sit in the waiting room, waiting and wondering if I’ll be called. Armed with “thank you” notes to write, magazines to read and many odd concepts in my head, I was ready to see how this day of jury in the Hall of Justice unfolds. In the back of my mind I am still feeling guilty about inappropriately snarling at a woman this morning. On my walk to the Hall of Justice, I peaked inside the Starbuck’s from the outside of the building. I had about 10 seconds to deliberate: “ooooh, line looks long, I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for being late, I’m already late, what’s 10 more minutes…?” In that 10 seconds, I stepped back and decided to leave. On the “step back” I accidentally stepped on a woman’s toe who was tailgating me. This lady was on my ass. She was as close to me as a dude on the club dance floor. I didn’t even know she was there. I stepped back, stepped on her foot and she shrieked…
I was embarrassed, and mad because I didn’t want to cause a scene. Plan, foiled…. I definitely caused a scene. I looked at her and said, “Oh my goodness, I am so sorry” she stood there, groaning…. “ugh, ooooooh, ouch, “ I apologized again and suddenly was mad… and inappropriately blurted, “Geez, you don’t have to get so dramatic”… she looked at me with disgust and said, “Well it hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt” — yes, her “it huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrt” was drawn out and whiny. She was a 50 year old professional woman wining and groaning at Starbuck’s at 7:45 AM. I pranced away and was immediately ashamed of my outburst and have spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out how I can improve my karma for the day. An hour later I was called into the jury room in Dept. 19 and was asked to sit in the “outside box.” The “outside box” is the alternates to the alternates. It’s like the Red Headed Step Child On Deck Understudy Plan B Zone. The judge was sunny and friendly. He was quite jovial and giggly. The defense attorney had crazy curly hair like Michael Moore meets one of the Osborne kids meets Ronald McDonald. He wore glasses and was in a sweat for most of the day. The other attorney looked like a disgruntled public attorney — whatever you think he looks like — you’re right — keep that image right there. The defendant was a woman. She was being tried in an actual trial for a DUI. Get this — the defendant — the woman — is preggers!! She’s probably 8 months preggers and she’s being tried in court for a DUI. Deliberations to select the jury lasted all day. I was in the “outer box” with a woman to the right of me who wore a puffy purple sweatshirt that said, “Crazy Bout’ Crafts.” To my left was a woman who was reading the book The Secret and her bookmark was a band aid. Really — a band aid, in the wrapper. I suppose it’s a two-fer — she marks her page and if she gets a paper cut she’s all good. I thought it was gross.
I eventually was dismissed and went home. I felt satisfied about my day at the Hall of Justice and have high hopes that one day I surpass the “outer box” and make it to the jury grand finale.