Friday, April 16, 2004

Adventures in Jury duty

Well I have not been chosen to be on a jury of my peers. That sound you hear is my peers emitting a collected sigh of relief.

It was my first time ever being called into jury duty. I don't know how I managed to avoid that for 6 years, but I was grateful for it. As much as I believe in the concept of trial by jury, that doesn't mean I want to be on one. Plus considering how much I freak out about my own future, I really don't think I'm qualified to decide anyone else's.

So needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive about yesterday. Like always when entering new situations, I was paranoid that the worst would happen. I consulted everyone at work about what reading materials I should bring to best portray the "you don't want me on your jury" kind of vibe I was looking for. Suggestions ran from hardcore right wing radical books by a Michael Savage or Ann Coulter (although honestly, I don't know if I could stomach even pretending to read those books) or one about psychosis. I then decided something like The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook would be best because of it's interactiveness, it would show that it was something that I was genuinely battling with, not just something I had an academic interest. In the end I wound up bringing Misadventures in the (213), which was so funny that I kept having to cover my face with the book which I'm sure made me appear crazy enough. I also wore my "Do I Look Like A People Person?" t-shirt, but it was a bit cold so I never took off my fleece.

Anyways, I got up butt ass early (I've been closing every night so my body clock is on a later time table) to drive to Martinez. No offense to Martinez, but you blow. Seriously, parking sucks, and I saw about 89 antique shops within a five block radius and one of them had a gigantic poodle in the window. Who wants to own a gigantic ceramic poodle? Stay away from me.

So I was directed to the jury assembly room where I filled out a couple of questionnaires. One was a generic race, age, no-name kind of thing, but the other had questions like: "Do your religious beliefs make you unable to make fair judgments about doctors?" What? I couldn't in good conscience lie about any of these questions and worried about appearing like Miss Open-Minded 2004. The only question I could really check yes to was if myself, a family member, or close friend had ever been a part of, victim of, or witness to a crime? Well the bank that my mother managed was robbed at gunpoint. Of course it was like, 1985 and I didn't find out about until years later, but I hardly see how that was relevant. If that was a little too far back then I had a back-up crime. My friend Alia was car-jacked a few years ago, also at gunpoint. This was after I had moved away and we really hadn't talked in a while and I've only talked to her once since the incident, but we were close friends in high school so, semantics!

Then we waited. And waited some more. At least I had the forethought to bring the aforementioned funny book and Ipod to drown out Good Morning America/Live with Regis and Kelly/The View that was blaring in the background. We watched the "Jury Duty Orientation" propaganda video where I learned nothing that I didn't already know from watching a single episode of Night Court. And Dan Fielding, hell even Harry Anderson, was way more entertaining than any of the actors that they hired to tell us about the joys and honor of serving on a jury. And I know what a fucking bailiff is! I'm twenty-fucking-four years old! The best part was when they told us not feel bad about ourselves if we weren't chosen for a jury, that it just meant that we weren't right for that particular jury. Yes, like I'm going to go home and weep into my pillow, wailing about how I apparently wasn't far and impartial enough.

Then we waited some more.

Next about 75 "random" names were called. Though I wasn't on that list, I was kind of hoping that I was just so I could go ahead and be declared unfit so I could go home and watch Angel (which by the way soooo good, if a little weird).

Guess what we did then? If you said "waited" then you just won a prize. I'll be sending it soon.

Awhile later, another list was read of people who would be reporting to a courtroom after lunch, to which I said "fuck let's just do it now I don't want to wait that long" Luckily I wasn't on that list either. There were only about 30 people left in the room and I was beginning to feel unwanted, but in a good way. Then they brought in one last list that consisted of 14 people who were to turn in their badges and leave. Oh please let me finally be chosen, let this be the list upon which my name graces. And it was. Praise Jesus.

I don't know why I was dismissed, while other people had to stay. My only explanation is the aforementioned crime question, so the case must have involved a knifing or something. To which I say, thank you mysterious bank robber who held up that Murray Savings and Loan in Dallas, lo those many years ago. Due to your stupidity, I was spared a gigantic hassle. I do have to say that after all my finger-wringing and teeth-gnashing I do feel a bit sheepish at the fact that I never left the assembly room and was home by noon. But not enough to not feel psyched at the prospect of not having to perform my civic duty for at least another year.


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