Friday, March 16, 2007

On Duty

A journal of my brush with jury duty.


So far this has been a pretty easy experience. I had expected it to be a lot more restrictive. I got here about 20 minutes early. I had no trouble finding the building, or the garage where I could park. The map on the brochure they sent was correct, and the garage and appropriate parking levels clearly marked.

The garage is a fairly gothic affair. The aisles are narrow and dark, lit by old flourecent bulbs. The concrete is damp this morning, and the spaces are very small. I parked so close to the pick-up truck next to me that I'm afraid Otto's personal space will have to be invaded all morning. I just hope I don't ding the guy's door.

I got on the elevator with some other ladies, and we all remarked when we got to the lobby that they certainly keep us from getting lost. Signs everywhere pointing to the jury assembly room. I was one of about 50 people already there. More came as we got closer and closer to 8AM, and quite a few came late.

There was a summons collection, then a video. Two women tell you in Spanish and Vietnamese that if you can't understand the video easily, you will have difficulty being a juror, and should speak to the secretary.

The bailliff came to the mic to let the gentlmen know that the men's room closes for cleaning at around 8:30AM, and would be closed for about 10 minutes, just for their information, so if they needed to go, now was the time. He announced they would be closing the jury room doors soon as well, so anyone who needed to step outside for a smoke should do so.

I wandered my way back to the snack room just as the second summons collection began. I found the restroom, a soda machine (critical information), and some tables I could set me laptop up at.

They showed a second video, then after a while began calling jurors.

Now, after three selections, I still haven't been called. They're taking a break, and making an announcment that they'll be turning the TV on (sound off in the break room, where I am). "Mr. Microphone" can be heard anywhere on the first floor, even the bathrooms, so it looks like I can get some work done. They will release us if the courts don't come in within a reasonable ammount of time. A woman asks what "a reasonable time" is. The bailiff responds that this is a state secret he never gives out until asked. Now that he's been asked, it's about 11:15AM.

The bailiff announces that we shouldn't try to pay for our parking before we're ready to leave, because we'll only have 20 minutes after paying to leave the garage. It's a glitch he's been trying to get them to fix. They really do make this as easy and comfortable as possible, which is nice.

Hopefully I'll be out of here soon. My laptop has about an hour and a half of power left, I imagine, so let me get some more work done.


I'm highly amused at the two gentlemen at the next table discussing their wives and ex-wives (many of whom seem to have worked in high-octane lawyer offices like Baker-Botts and Fulbright and Jaworski) and getting drunk on beer and jack and coke and wine. And how you're better off with a clear liquor like vodka than wine. And the fun they've had at the rodeo. Nice. Fortunately the work I have to do is formatting, so it isn't that distracting.

I forgot, of course, to bring either iPod or headphones.

Oh. And now they're talking about girlfriends. Hmm. I'm about to repeal the appelation of gentleman. "I told her the first time she gives me any lip, she's gone. That's why you keep them as girlfriends, you don't want to marry'em. I speak from experience. I've been married 4 times. Can't live with'em, can't kill'em. They can kill us and get off a lot easier than we can."

Okay, not gentlemen.

Good ol' boys, though. And now talking about how these folks won't want them on a jury. Heh, I agree. I'm finding it hard not to be an intellectual elitist, listening to their ignorant, narrow, and misogyinistic talk.


All right, they're calling it. No courts showed up to claim us, so we can go. We'll get our checks for $6 in the mail in a few weeks. Well. That was cool!

Gotta go get real work done!

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