I'm at jury duty today! For those who don't know, I love jury duty! I haven't received a notice in years to show up for my civic duty and when I got that summons in the mail it was legit like the winning Willy Wonka ticket. My office thought I was crazy and apologized when they saw me holding my golden ticket.
A quiet room where I can read or write, without interruption unless I'm called upon? Long breaks and lunches? People watching? COUNT ME IN.
And of course, I find law so fascinating and, if my employer paid for me to attend jury duty, I'd happily hope to get on a trial and do my due diligence (I'd hope the same if I ever found myself on the unlucky side of the law, I do believe). However, I found out they don't cover my pay to be here... so HOPEFULLY I don't get picked to serve on a jury and not have any income coming in. But alas, we wait to find out my fate. The first group has been called up, and I remain.
Today's jury room... well guys, it's not the A team, if I'm being honest. Today was the first day they were trying out their new computer-automated check-in system. If you brought your jury duty notice with you, you needed to stand in line to the left, and simply scan your notice and enter "yes" that you were here. This was obstacle number one, and if our room's competence level is at all indicated by following those two steps, we're FUCKED.
Next up was the world's longest orientation speech. Now, don't get me wrong, the honorable judge did his best to incorporate humor while running through the 20+ minute spiel about the importance of being here. I appreciated it. But it was starting to feel like I back staring at the wall during a catholic mass, eyes glazed over, wondering when it would all end. It's not like there's going to be arm-waving singing at the end of this.
The judge got to the part where he asked everyone who had been on a jury to raise their hands.
A few folks did. So he asked, "How many have been on more than one?" Hands remained in the air. "More than three?" A few hands remained in the air. "Wow, more than three?" These hands still remained in the air so he called on these people. "How many for you sir?' Sir: "Three." Judge: "Great! Anyone with more than three?" *calls on another gent* Gent: "Three as well."
PEOPLE PUT DOWN YOUR HANDS, FFS.
Judge: "Anyone with more than three?" He finally calls on a guy that says: "FIVE." We think we have a winner. "Anyone with more than five times on a jury? Yes, you in the back (to a lady still raising her hand). Lady: "Well, I'm 65." LONG PAUSE. We all wait in suspense. "I've been on four juries." Judge: "So... no one with more than five."
We all move on, me questioning everyone's fate should these people be called upon to serve on their trial.
At jury duty, you can instantly spot who has never been here before. They're all sitting in the front two rows, super attentive, with no books or computers... probably expecting that we're all going to be involved in some Law & Order shit. They're also the ones that parked in lot "G" and lot "G" is the only lot with a parking limit. I feel like offering them an encouraging nod.
Next up, we're informed that we are wanted! Our jury duty gal is up at the podium, and says, "If I call your name, please, please, please speak up verbally and say that you're here and acknowledge that you've heard me and that I've called you. I can't hear head nods." Everyone gives a chuckle.
She starts calling names: NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING. Each person called quietly gives a little hand wave.
HAVE WE LISTENED TO NOTHING?
Honestly, I want to send a pigeon to the lawyers urging them to settle in the best interest of their clients.
There's a girl here with purple and pink hair (coined the "unicorn" style) and I'm sad that the Unicorn Moms have taken away my joy in these colors and anything unicorn-related. Fortunately there's no one here making the Unicorn symbol at me, so it might be a safe space.
They keep flashing the internet wifi and let me tell you, it is the worst wifi EVER. I think they're teasing us just to add to the overall tone of misery in the dull, grey and beige room. They've announced our first 20 minute break and people got a little wild with excitement. Despite the multiple announcements that you don't have to sit in this room like a trapped monkey all day, a lot haven't caught the memo. I like my seat, so I'm staying put. I was like the ring leader this morning. We were all lined up to scan in, and I left the line and headed to the back of the room, found the table next to the window with the outlet, set up my shit, and walked on back to my spot in the line. People looked at me like I had started a movement and followed, in suit. They really should call me to jury duty more often. I think no one wanted to question a pregnant woman who looks like she's given up on life, but whatevs.
They need another jury! Our gal starts calling up names, announcing more than 10 times throughout the name calling (I counted) where the room is (what floor and what room number). Things are going smoothly, people are gathering there belongings and following the trickling line of jurors to the elevators. One gal walks on up to the podium, introduces herself by name, and says "You called my name??" (she's been sitting in the room the entire time, so we can't pretend she ran back from the cafeteria.) I hope there's reason she is excused from serving on a trial.
I've survived round 2.
It's 10:50 a.m. and the court cases have dropped from 42 to 29.
I think I'll go get a pastry.