Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Guess what I did yesterday? I had jury duty. I'm sure you remember that I've been summoned about 27 times in the last few months, but yesterday was actually my day of servitude and it was Loooooooooooooooooong. (yes, capital L)

You know your day will go well when your actual jury summons states that parking is limited. Umkay. So? If you need 400+ people to come serve on juries, should you provide them with a space in which to leave their vehicle? I think so. They apparently disagree, so off I went about 30 minutes early to guarantee my parking freedoms. After a minor parking lot battle for a spot, I trotted (okay, ambled)....okay, I waddled into the jury herding/holding area where a bailiff greeted me with good news. He politely eyed my bulbous belly and told me that I would probably be exempt!!! YES!

I gave him my most winning smile and went to the window which contained the Jury Clerk, who has some mysterious qualities of the Great and Powerful Oz. I've decided that jury clerks must be on the same order as postal workers because this woman was not feeling me at all. I repeated what the bailiff had told me and she snickered, rolled her eyes and told me to "get in the jury room." Umkay. Head down, I snuck in a quick potty break and joined the ranks of the masses in a jam-packed room of the other sad sacks awaiting their doom.

After 30 minutes of allowing people to make excuses and denying them, they got down to business and began sorting us into courtrooms. Of the 400 people, I was juror number nine. This was not a good sign. I sighed and went to the courtroom with the other 69 people to await the jury selection after sneaking in another illegal bathroom break. I was hoping this would be fast because we weren't allowed to bring food or drink. I snuck in a granola bar and a bottle of water and was prepared to fight for it if questioned. Fortunately, no one questioned.

After a lengthy introduction that reviewed ninth grade civics class, the lawyers began their THREE HOURS of questioning regarding our opinions of manslaughter, alcohol, police reliability, and crime. Y'all...some people are freaks. They really thought this was open mic group therapy. I had to hear about people's kids' bikes being stolen, their camera getting lifted, the DUI they got at 19 that wasn't fair, the complaints they had about the police....you name it, I heard it. For THREE hours. For real.

At last, we were sent into the hall to await their decision. I made a sloppy elbow-your-neighbor and fend for yourself break for the bathroom. Did I mention that it was now 2:20? Did I mention that we had not had a lunch break? At 2:40, it was announced that my services were not required and I was sent home. I arrived home at 3:00 to snarf a massive lunch and 6 glasses of water. I spent the rest of the day exhausted and dehydrated.

I think that whole process was inhumane. It was clear cut people abuse. I would sue or something, but I think I'd have to go back there to do it.

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