Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adventures in Jury Duty, Part Duh.

So, every night this week, I've had to call in to see if I needed to report for Jury Duty.  And every night, I heard the same message, "You do not need to report in tomorrow" and I'm always all, "Yeah, baby!"

Well, last night (Thursday) I completely forgot to call in so when I got up this morning and went to check my e-mails, I saw my jury summons and was all, "Crap! I forgot to call in!" and immediately called, expecting to hear, "We don't need you because it's Friday and who decides to start trials on a Friday?" message.

Ha ha, right. This time, I hear, "You are to report for jury duty at 7:45am this morning" and I'm all, "CRAP!!!" because it's 6:30 and I haven't had a shower or fed the dog or made Thing 2's lunch (yes, I make her lunch every day) and I'm all, "Crap, crap, crap!"  It felt like such a dirty trick, making me think I'm home free only to have someone, the voice on the automated system, yell, "PSYCH!!"

I have just enough time to shower and throw on a pair of pants and shirt but no time to apply any makeup other than mascara, which really made no difference so I don't know why I even bothered with that, grabbed my purse, a book, a pad of paper, a couple of granola bars and hightailed it out the door because by this time, I had about 20 minutes to make it from my house on the east side of Long Beach to the courthouse located downtown.

But first, I needed to make a quick trip through the drive-thru at the local Crack House for My Usual because I was STARVING and I could just eat while I was driving.  That didn't work out so good because I managed to drip salsa verde on my lap AND down my top and I'm all, "Crap!" although that's not quite the word I used but we'll go with it.

And then, because there's traffic construction every other street, I pretty much had to take the Ho Chi Minh Trail to get to the courthouse because every time I made a turn, I'd hit yet another "Detour" sign that would send me in another direction and at one point I could have sworn I ended up driving in a big circle thanks to the stupid "Detour" signs.

So I finally get to the courthouse and totally make an illegal left turn into the parking garage and me and my stained clothes scamper to the entrance where I pretty much have to disrobe to go through the metal detector and people are staring at my chesticle area because of the big stains and I'm all, "What, you've never seen green sauce from Del Taco before?" before tossing my clean but mostly uncombed mane of hair and heading for the escalator.  Which isn't working.

Anyone who's ever been to the Courthouse in Long Beach knows the place is on the verge of collapse and really should have been condemned and torn down in a massive display of pyrotechnics years ago but no, no such luck.  Ironically, in today's paper there was an article about how the Long Beach Courthouse is the worst in the state.  Half the time the elevators and escalators are out of order, like this time.  So I start hoofing up the non-moving escalators which is a weird feeling because the steps are different heights and it really throws your balance off.  But I make it all the way to the 6th floor without having a coronary and arrive in the jury room with the other 50 or 60 Law Abiding Citizens who didn't ignore their Jury Summons the way I've done a time or two.  Uh, I mean, put it aside and forgot about it.  Yeah!  That's it!  I FORGOT about it.

So all of us Chosen People are sitting there, staring at each other or our cellphones in various states of irritation, exhaustion and resignation.  Then we're instructed to take out our jury summonses because they have to be filled out and turned in and guess who didn't have her jury summons to fill out and turn in?  That would be me.  Mine was still sitting on my desk back at home.  Of course.

So I tell the nice lady who's in charge that I didn't have my summons with me to fill out and turn in and she tells me I have to go and talk to "George" and I go and talk to "George" and tell him I forgot my jury summons that needed to be filled out and turned in and he gives me The Look, sighs heavily and looks up my name on the computer and prints out a new one and I return sheepishly to my chair to fill it out and turn it in as everyone is staring at me because I was the ONLY person to have forgotten her paperwork.  Or they were staring at the big stains on my boobs.  No, I'm pretty sure they were staring because of the paperwork issue.

By the time everyone had filled out and turned in their paperwork and/or been excused for whatever reasons, it was 8:45 and it was Break Time until 9:15.  So I went out onto the rooftop deck, which is really the only redeeming feature because it overlooks the Long Beach Harbor and I look down on Ocean Blvd, watching the cars go by and then I look out toward the harbor and watch the ships in port and then I jot down some notes and then I stare out at the harbor some more and then it's time to go back in to the jury room and wait.

Around 9:30, 9:45, about 15 people get called to go to a courtroom.  I am not one of them, which on one hand, I'm all, "Whew! Dodged another one!" but on the other hand, I'm all, "Dang, I didn't get picked."  So the Unchosen of us sit there and wait.  And we wait.  Aaaaand, we wait.  Those people who didn't bring laptops or netbooks are either reading, dozing, staring stupidly in to space or are on their phones.

Even though I had brought a book, I wasn't in a hurry to start reading because the last time around, I brought a book that wasn't a quick read and by the time I was finally dismissed, I had read about 2/3 of it and my neck was stiff from looking down at the book and my eyes were aching and my head was blurry.  

I tried to keep occupied by checking my e-mails, posting status updates on Facebook, commenting on other people's status updates, responding to comments about my updates, texting my kids even though they were both in school, texting my favorite non-biological son Adam who was at work but was as bored as I was, surfed the web, played the Yahtzee app on my phone a dozen times, looked around the room but not make eye contact with anyone, played  "here is the church and here is the steeple" with my hands and then I did that thing with my hands where you clasp your hands and then flip one hand over so that the two middle fingers wiggle and I looked at all the pictures on my phone including a picture of my new Boyfriend and then I Google more images of my Boyfriend because he's THAT HOT but I had to stop doing that because I was Heavy Sigh-ing a little too loudly which drew even more stares and I'd post pictures of my Boyfriend but Blogger is not letting me post pictures at this time (Bastards!) so if you want to see my Boyfriend just Google "Jason Statham" and you'll see what I'm talking about.   HOT is what he is.

So by this time I'm about to go nuts (and No, I do NOT have ADD or ADHD; I was just bored) and am thinking how I will last until we break for lunch at noon but at 11:00, we're dismissed for lunch, which means I have 2-1/2 hours to kill.  I could have gone home but then I wouldn't have wanted to drive back so instead I went to my sister's house and hung out with her cats and ate some lunch and called TheManTheMyth to find out what he was doing (finishing concrete with no time for idle chitchat).

Back to the courthouse at 1:30 and I finally decide to read my book after making arrangements to have Favorite Son Adam pick up Thing 2 from school (this is why he's The Favorite and Thing 1 is Not).  Just as I'm getting into my book, we're dismissed and told we have completed our annual Civic Duty.  It's 2:15.

So let's see, we sat around for an hour, took a 1/2 hour break, sat around for roughly 1.5 hours, took a 2.5 hour lunch, sat around for 45 minutes and that's it.  We're done.

Despite my inability to keep my mouth shut which, for some reason, is frowned upon when one is serving on a jury, I really would like to experience being on a jury at least once.  But, something tells me that probably won't happen because of the whole, "Don't talk about the case" rule they have and we all know, it's not in my genetics to stay silent. 

But as long as they keep calling me, I'll keep trying.  Because it's my Civic Duty. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Doing my Civic Duty

Or, not.  At least, not today.  Yes, I'm talking about jury duty.  I got me one of them summonses and why I'm a-talkin' like this I don't rightly know.  Anyway, I had received a summons several months ago and like many people do, I tossed it aside and completely forgot about it.  Until I received another Official Summons that told me that if I did not respond This Time, I would be in big, BIG trouble and since I really don't want to be in trouble with The Man, I followed the rules and was told I needed to report for duty today but to call first just to make sure.  So I did.  Called first and lo and behold I did not need to report in but I still have to call in every day this week.  No biggie.

I'm probably one of the few people who doesn't groan and moan when I get my annual summons for jury duty.  Not because I'm all, "It's my Civic Duty and I'm Proud to serve!" but because there is some really, REALLY good people watching when one is doing jury duty.  And I'm all about the people watching.  Plus, it provides some good blog fodder, something I seem to be short of lately.

Actually, I've only had to report to the courthouse one time and was sent to a courtroom for jury selection.  And that was where the fun began.  It was a burglary case and 11 of the 12 jurors had been selected.  Juror Seat #12 turned out to be the hot seat.  Or cold seat since everyone who sat in that seat and was questioned about their eligibility to serve was excused.  While waiting for my number to be called, I noticed the gal sitting next to me was doing an odd thing.  She was plucking out her hair, a strand at a time.  She'd pluck out a strand and then break that strand into small pieces.  Then she'd do it again and again I'm all, "What the hell?" and then SHE's called up and is being questioned about being able to serve and then I get it:  she's nuttier than a fruitcake.  And was ineligible to serve because she was a defendant in an assault case (on her own mother, no less) and was in anger management therapy and I'm all, "WHACKJOB!"

Finally, my number is called and I'm asked questions that ranged from what I do for a living (Domestic Goddess) to the number of kids I have (2, sometimes more depending on the day of the week) and other stuff.  I was being my usual witty self and causing chuckles from the other 11 jurors, the lawyers, the judge and the spectators.  I'm passing with flying colors and it looks as if I will be Juror #12.  And then they blew it.

They reminded me that as a juror, I will not be allowed to discuss the case with anyone and I'm all, "Well, you just lost me right there" and they're all, "What?  What do you mean?" and I'm all, "Well, you see, I'm a Perkins Girl and what we do, is Talk.  I will talk about the case with my husband, my sisters, the ladies of the message board I post on because it's what I do, I talk.  I'm a talker, it's who I Am."  And the two attorneys keep trying to get me to understand that I can't talk and I'm all, "You're joking, right?  Have you even been LISTENING?" and they keep trying and even the judge gets into the act and I'm all, "Hey, I swore to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God and if I said I'd keep my piehole shut I'd be lying and God will come down and beat me up and I'm not willing to risk opening a jar of God whoop-ass, thank you very much" and even the defendant is laughing and after going round and round, finally the legal eagles all throw up their hands in defeat and I am excused and thanked for doing my civic duty and I'm all, "Any time!" and as I walked out the door, I looked back and the judge was sitting there with his head in his hands.  

I think I broke him.

And thus, I completed my Civic Duty for the year.