Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jury Duty

I received a Summons for Juror Service a while back, and called yesterday to see if I still had to attend. I dialed the number, hoping that I wouldn't have to go. Not because I would miss work or school or anything important, because I certainly had nothing to do on the date of my scheduled service. It wasn't that. It was moreso that jury duty would take away from my time doing nothing, which had become such an important part of everyday life.

But I was summoned and had to attend today. I was shocked at the news, because I had been summoned a bunch of times (at least 4) before, but had never actually had to report for jury service. The universe must understand that I'm unemployed and that it was finally my time.

So I arrived at court at 8am this morning, ready to wait it out with my book of Dorothy Parker's Complete Short Stories. My train arrived at State St. a little early, so I decided to go touristy:

Here's the courthouse (what a lovely rainy day!)and the courthouse again, only closer this time (it's celebrating it's 150 year anniversary this year!)
Oh look! A sign for jury duty (and someone in the background smiling -- listen, if you were going to photobomb my photo, please be a little more creative next time)

I walked into the courthouse and signed in and all that. After being checked off of some master list, I was handed a number on a piece of paper. "211" it said. I was given no sort of direction from my signer-in-er, and so took my number, assumed I was about to wait for my deli order of turkey and Swiss cheese, and took a seat.

Where I sat for the next 45 minutes was a very long and skinny room with chairs as far as the eye could see. I sat down on an aisle and assumed the place would fill up and someone would have to sit next to me. The place did fill up, but person by person walked by me to more crowded rows behind me. That was when I regretted not showering. Maybe they didn't want to sit next to me because I was wearing my "I want sprinkles" shirt from CakeWrecks and that just seems odd out of context? Maybe the glasses turned them off or were too nerdy? Or the Dorothy Parker book that had a cartoon woman coming out of the men's room on it? Was it my Vans? It was. Ahhh I knew it.

I kept on reading, and finally someone came to sit next to me. My humanity validated, I could then read in peace for the next ten minutes or so. Around 9am they showed an "orientation" video circa 1983 in which a judge who is probably no longer with us described the juror selection process and the weight of our civic duty. This was particularly amusing since she had the speech impediment where you can't say your Rs correctly. Ever hear someone with this particular affliction say "jury," "juror," and the like repeatedly while wearing judges robes, 70s eye glasses, and an old lady mullet? You should be so lucky. I was, and it was the time of my life.

After that was over, it was 9:15 and we were told to break (break from doing nothing? it's just like at home!) until 9:45. I went to the bathroom, and noticed the artful graffiti:

I especially enjoyed "Sup, I hate Orlando Florida" and "ALL STAR DANCE CREW."

At 9:45, I returned to my seat for a few minutes to listen to a man and woman, both about 30, conversing awkwardly. Clearly they had just met about four minutes ago, and yet I overheard the woman say "can you imagine if we started dating and got married and then we could say we met at jury duty!" I don't think the guy was that amused.

Finally, they started calling numbers, and my immediate thought was TURKEY AND CHEESE SANDWICH! No, self, you're not at the deli! I scolded. Then I realized that they were starting at number 1. I was 211. I went back to my book and waited for another half hour. So far jury duty wasn't so bad.

When I was finally called, I went into a jury pool for a medical malpractice suit. 11 out of 12 jurors had been picked, and there were five people in front of me. I figured one of them would get it, but they were all excused for some reason. I walked up to the judge, assuming I would be the 12th juror, sulking and a little nervous as I did so. As we talked, however, I realized what could get me out of this trial; a trial that was likely to last 2 weeks at the judge's best estimate. It was no "F*** the Po-lice" t-shirt, but I was going to a wedding in Georgia next Friday.

I told her. She excused me. Sweet!
I returned downstairs to the juror pool and waited to be called to another case. Dang! Foiled again!

After 65pgs of Dorothy Parker and a Baby Ruth from the break room, however, I was dismissed from jury service at 12:15 (because 3 cases were canceled). Yay!

And so, having survived jury duty, I got back on the T and headed back home.

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