Friday, April 19, 2013

The Thrill That is Jury Duty

So I’ve been on jury duty for the past week and I’ve learned several things. Oh, nothing about our actual jurisprudence system other than waiting to be selected as a juror is a long and tediously boring process. 

I was never called, you see.  So that meant I had an awful lot of time on my hands to find something to do.  In a room filled with a whole lot of other people who also had an awful lot of time on their hands. 

But it gave me the opportunity to read. For hours at a stretch.  I always thought would be a heavenly way to spend a few days, but it’s not.  You want to know why?  Because reading for hours at a stretch on my iPad makes my vision go blurry.  And, given my really crappy so-far-from-20-20-vision-it’s-not-funny eyesight, seeing blurry WITH my glasses is not a good thing.  I tend to run into walls as it is.  With blurry vision, I could end up in a ditch.

But despite all that, I started and finished two books in two days.  And yesterday morning, as I was nearing the last fifty or so pages of the second book, my eyes started watering.  A lot. That should have been a clue that my eyes had had enough and I should PUT THE IPAD AWAY.  Did I listen?  Even when I was giving myself that order in capital letters?  Nooooo. I kept telling myself that I ONLY had fifty pages to go. 

So I finished my book while constantly wiping my eyes.  My fellow not-called-to-serve-on-a-jury mates must have thought I was reading either a really sad and sappy book – or I was so incredibly bored with this waiting around stuff, I was getting teary-eyed.

Not only that, but then when they called our lunch break, I had to hoof it over to the office.  Which, by my calculation, was about 12 miles away.  And, okay, so it’s really only a few blocks away, but it seemed like 12 miles.  Especially because (a) I was toting a very large and heavy tote bag containing my umbrella, iPad, laptop, this week’s copy of People magazine AND purse, and (b) my eyes were watering the whole way.

I was waiting for someone to either ask me if I was okay or hand me a tissue.  Neither happened, but considering where I was coming from, all sorts of teary-eyed folks have probably been spotted walking away from the courthouse. And, since I wasn’t in handcuffs or police custody and was wearing my big red “Juror” badge, they must have gone with the “bored” conclusion.

Nevertheless, I finally made it to the office, where I feverishly worked until it was time to get back to the courthouse. A person can get a LOT of work done when she is completely focused on work and work alone. No time to read my horoscope. No time to check on my emails. No time to eat lunch.


Jury duty really wasn’t all that much fun for me. Working so close to the courthouse downtown definitely had its disadvantages. Like being ordered to come into the office “every minute" I wasn’t at the courthouse. That’s a lot of hoofing it back and forth to the office. I may have developed heel calluses. And blisters. Blisters occurred the first day because I made the grievous error of wearing cute shoes as opposed to good walking shoes. Naturally, I did not make that mistake again.

The other thing I noticed during this week of jury duty and the subsequent treks back and forth from the courthouse to the office was, while walking may be good exercise, it makes a mess of one’s coif.  My hair was never in such dire need of styling products as it was this week.  And the worst thing was, by the time I got back to the jury holding pen, er, waiting room, I’d forgotten about the windy journey. Later, I would walk into the restroom and gasp at how wild and crazy my hair looked.  And I don’t generally carry a comb or brush in my purse.  Or even a big, floppy hat to cover the mess.

It’s no wonder people avoided me.  They must’ve thought I was a crazy lady who evidently didn’t own a brush.

Ah well. I should feel good that I performed my civic duty.  And I earned a few extra bucks for the week.  Well, unless you factor in the costs for parking, snacks and drinks that I wouldn’t have spent simply working in my own office.  Yeah, let’s not factor in those costs lest I determine I actually lost money to serve on jury duty.

So it was an interesting experience.  But I confess that I hope the computer skips over my name and address the next time I’m eligible to be selected for jury duty. However, should my name be pulled and I’m once again picked for jury duty service, I will remember to bring two things: 1) A brush, and 2) A book. A REAL book. My fellow jurors – and my eyes – will thank me.

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