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Thursday, May 19, 2005I'm Exempt For At Least One More Year
Recently, I had to serve my civic duty and report for jury duty. Now, this has been the THIRD time I've gone in to the court and my group has been dismissed. Not that I'm complaining - I actually have a lot of work that needs to be done and I can't take time to figure out someone else's problems.
The whole experience was less than satisfying, to say the least. First, I had to stand in this horrendous line outside JUST TO GET INTO THE BUILDING. Everyone has to go through the metal detectors and put all of their bags, briefcases, jackets, shoes, keys, spare change, and CELL PHONES on the conveyor belt - just to make sure that nobody plans to blow up the building or injure anyone else if... you know... things get out of hand. I can tell you right now that I was soooo ready to punch one of those obnoxious people who were handing out "legal advice" flyers and their business cards - damn those people are pushy! There should be a law about solicitation outside of courthouses.
So when I finally make it up to the conveyor belt, the "security guard" (aka - rent-a-cop) tells me that no camera phones are allowed inside. What the fuck? I've just stood in this HORRENDOUS line and now I have to go put my cell phone back in the car just because some asshole took pictures inside a courthouse and RUINED it for the rest of us? Dammit! So, off I go to put the phone in the car... muttering obscenities under my breath the whole time... When I came back, I had already had enough of the HORRENDOUS line and all the obnoxious flyer people - so I walked straight past all the people in line (who were gaping at my assertiveness and wondering who the fuck I was) and into the courthouse and put my shit on the conveyor belt so that I could report for my civic duty. And I did NOT beep. Surprise, surprise.
When I make it into the jury holding room (let's call it the sweat box) there is a woman behind the counter who only knows one phrase: "Can I help the next person?" That's all she knows how to say. And she says it about 60 times in one minute. That's the same phrase over and over and over and over again. After standing in THAT line, I was finally released to go sit among my "peers" who were there to serve their civic duty, too. Chairs were sparse, so I nabbed one where I could still see outside, see a t.v., and be out of the way so all the weirdos wouldn't stare at me (like they usually do). After settling in, I started to look around at the prospect pool of jurors. There must have been nearly 200 people in this room and of the bunch, I don't think I would want ANY of them to decide my fate if I were ever in court. Not that I would be in court - unless those idiots outside tried to stick me with another flyer... then, maybe.
I watched the dynamic of the room change as more and more people flooded into the sweat box. People chose their seats carefully, even when there were too few to really be discretionary. I watched as some people tried to busy themselves with a book or pay bills. Others of us just sat and stared at everyone else. Things started to pick up after the announcement (over the loud speaker) was made that it was "National Jury Appreciation Week" and they would be serving coffee and cookies all morning. In an instant, people were moving and talking. The decibel level in the room went up at least 50 points and continued to get louder ~ food really does bring people together. Rather, FREE FOOD brings people together.
I was soooo happy to be released after just a few hours. I had met a nice, but chatty, gentleman who sat next to me. He was in construction and seemed like a nice enough guy - but I wasn't exactly in the friendliest or chatty-est of moods. I was relieved when my group was told that our case settled out of court and that we could go home!
I took advantage of the rest of the day by visiting with my boyfriend.
At least I won't have to do that for another 365 days. Whoopie!