Yesterday, I had jury duty.
(Yes, that’s an Abby Gabs original. Feel free to use it.)
From approximately 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, my day went a little like this:
8:30 A.M.: Arrive early at the courthouse to ensure I’m at the right place. Park car. Look around and notice all the other jurors there early, all busy playing with their smart phones. Pull Droid out of purse and immediately take on the group mentality.
8:40 A.M.: Turn off Droid, lock in glove compartment, weep.
8:41 A.M.: Repair mascara in rearview mirror. Gather belongings (except sad little Droid) and head to the courthouse. It’s a 1 block hike from the car. I’m wearing heels.
8:45 A.M.: Enter front door. Immediately be accosted by angry looking security guard. Become just as angry when he asks if I have a cell phone. Grumble something about leaving it in the car. Walk through giant metal detector, snatch my purse from evil guard (who is only evil for taunting me about my phone) and join the other jurors milling about downstairs.
8:50 A.M.: Follow the leader up the stairs to the Jury Processing room. Sit in a chair by the wall. Smile at nice looking young woman who sits next to me. Compliment her yellow scarf.
8:51 A.M. – 9:09 A.M.: Read. Make some polite small talk. Re-read the same paragraph I just read. More small talk. Re-read the same paragraph for the 3rd time. Give up and put away Kindle.
9:10 A.M.: Jury Processing begins. Line up, wait. Get to front of line, give name, Juror number, number of miles traveled to court house. I say “10.” She hands me my badge and I go back to my seat.
9:11 A.M. – 9:44 A.M.: Rest of Jurors check in. I manage to make a little more headway in my book. People start getting restless. The tenor of the room changes.
9:45 A.M.: Woman in charge starts giving us instructions. People ask stupid questions. I decide I want a t-shirt that reads “There Are No Stupid Questions, Just Stupid People.” We’re told to take this opportunity to use the bathroom, since once we’re in court, no one can leave.
9:58 A.M.: Stampede. I stay seated for fear of being trampled by frantic women racing to empty their bladders.
10:05 A.M.: Head into main courtroom. Sit in extremely uncomfortable pew-like benches. Settle in for the long haul.
10:10 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.: Try to stay awake while judge reads every indictment against the accused in the first case of the day. Listen to every Juror–all 125 of us–as we stand, state our names, Juror numbers, and occupations for the record. One. At. A. Time. Laugh at electrician with a ponytail sitting next to me, who doesn’t succeed in staying awake and snores approximately every 6 minutes.
11:01 A.M. – 11:38 A.M.: Wait as Juror numbers are randomly called to fill the jury box. Wait some more. Wait a little more.
11:39 A.M.: Queue up to head to a smaller courtroom for the next case. With the sleepy electrician.
11:45 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.: Listen to the new judge read the high points of the civil case. He’s much faster. No time to read. We are excused for a 10 minute break, as the jury will be selected randomly from a computer this time. Again–stampede to the bathroom. This time I risk it. No Jurors are harmed in the great race to the toilets.
12:30 P.M.-12:58 P.M.: Thirteen Juror numbers (12 for the Jury, one alternate) are called to hear this case. Mine is not one of them.
1:00 P.M.: With instructions to call the Juror hotline every day for the rest of the week, the lucky few beat feet to the parking lot. It’s like the last day of school before summer break. There may be a woman waving her blazer out of the top of a Jeep as it squeals into the road.
So, after 5 hours of waiting around, I was finally let off the hook for jury duty yesterday. That’s the good news.
The bad news? I may have to go back tomorrow.