I’ve Turned In My Commission!

The long-awaited, star-studded, and action-packed finale to my jury duty is finally here. After approximately twelve hours of no jury duty and virtually no useless waiting (in general), I am ready to log the rest of my experience.

I don’t think that my jury duty experience these last two weeks have been all that different from the rest of the people across the country that endure the same. Some of the fun I had was at the expense of other people, but there is a certain point at which the mind just starts caving in on itself. Well friends, I got there.

My last portion of serving was this morning until 11 am at which time the administrator came in and told us that the defendant had not shown up. Nor had he shown up the last time he was on trial. So let me break it down for you… basically 40 law-abiding (I’m assuming here, but work with me) citizens who skipped work, gave up their morning (and previous week and a half in some cases), gave up their $6 to park for the day, and sat in our waiting room for several hours waiting for this scumbag (see, this is why I wasn’t picked for very many trials) to chicken out and not show up. Neat, bro, neat.

Other than that, there were so many small items that could have made our stay much more pleasant. I also had to spend some time making up games in order to occupy my decaying brain. Here’s a little bit on my environment and self-entertainment:

a) 186: the number of ceiling tiles in our holding room. Although one day, I thought that maybe I miscounted because there’s a small portion of drop ceiling over in the corner and while waiting yesterday morning to be called in (which we weren’t – none of us), I panicked thinking “oh no, my brain is rotting so bad in here I can’t even remember if I counted that portion of the ceiling for it’s ceiling tiles!” Nevertheless I had to double back and make the count again… and I was right. 186.

b) The judge presiding over the one trial I did get on is quite the guy – he recently married billionaire Sheila Johnson, co-creator of Black Entertainment Television, and co-owner of some of your favorite sports teams. Yeah, he looked happy sitting up there.

c) Emailing. At the least I had my cell phone and my blackberry while I was in the holding room. The thing is that I didn’t even really mind when we were going through the selection process and actually on trials. I felt useful then. I felt like there was a reason for me being there. Waiting hour upon endless hour is what killed me. Having my blackberry was fortunate for two reasons: first, I could keep about 50% caught up on work so that I didn’t have to work all night just because I was gone during the day. Also, at one point on Monday afternoon I got so desperate that I put a bunch of people in the “to” field of an email and sent out a final plea saying “please, PLEASE, send me something funny! An article, a joke, ANYTHING!” I got some good material back, and decided to not jump out the 10- story window.

d) This morning was the worst because the other mornings my fellow jurors could say things like “well, at least we have a good view.” And that was true. The courtrooms were on the 10th floor of the building and we could see in to the city, out to the monuments, and look at the driving cars, etc. This morning we came in to some rainy fog and the room now looked like a psych ward surrounded by white padded walls because the fog at 10 stories up was so thick we couldn’t see the building 15 feet away from us.

d) While I can appreciate the attempt to get the jurors the ability to make coffee – and no, I don’t even expect the courthouse workers (aka our babysitters) to make it for us – we can’t make coffee without filters. It’s just not going to work. In desperation some started saying “could we use paper? Papertowels?” People, it was chaos in there without coffee. Besides, even if we had got the machine going, we’re talking one pot, and at some times 150 people. Not… gonna… go… very… far.

e) Although having coffee would have been a major bonus, in hindsight I’m glad that we didn’t get it running because there was only one bathroom for our whole pool. Just think if even half of us had drank our morning coffee (maybe even a second cup by the time we got there!) and then had to make a mad dash for the bathroom. It’s bad enough that a line formed and people would annoyingly knock when the person in front of them was taking too long. Coffee would have made this a scene straight out of Lord of the Flies or the men would have started peeing in the corner. Something bad definitely would have happened.

f) Besides counting random objects (ceiling tiles, chairs, drywall seams when I could fine them, ceiling beams, lights, you name it), one of my later projects on Tuesday was to identify the folks in the room who had clearly gone under the knife. Hey, I don’t care about plastic surgery, do what you like. I’m not going to do it, but I’m completely neutral on others. Anyway, Tuesday brought us about 80 people called in to our pool and only the following was identifiable and only in women: one eye and/or face lift (although I’m pretty sure it was just eye), one nose job, and one Botox (hey, when you’re 55-ish with zero face wrinkles but a bunch on your neck? Newsflash, that ain’t nature being nice to you.). This, of course, is only what was noticeable to my untrained eye.

g) The cruelest of all jokes was the clock on the wall. Although we all knew from the beginning that the clock was an hour fast, somehow our subconscious state’s lent themselves to short-term memory loss. I can’t even tell you how many times people got verbally frustrated when the clock said 1:15 pm and they hadn’t let us out for lunch yet. OH CONTRARE! It’s not 1:15! It’s only 12:15! You could almost hear the evil laugh from the little clock hand just mocking us all up there on it’s wall.

I’ve served my duty and I can’t get called again for another two years, which seems to me about the time that most of the brain cells I lost during the last two weeks will have grown back. I’m really looking forward to that. The great parts about this experience are that I got a few good posts out of it (although after a group meeting tonight, we now know how far I’ll go for a good post), read a book and a few magazines, and caught up with friends via cell phone. I’m going to bed now and looking forward to not waking up knowing that my soul purpose for the day will be to wait, standby patiently, and wait a little more. I am a productive citizen now, being let back out in to general population.

3 Comments so far

  1. Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 10:13 am

    Sorry, Stacey. Brain cells don’t grow back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. :)

  2. Stacey (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 10:23 am

    Hmm… as the day is starting without jury duty and I find myself a little lost in this big world, Kurt I am beginning to believe you…

  3. Michael (unregistered) on January 12th, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

    What a patriot you are Stacey! I’ve been in my office for like 5 years and I never once thought to count the ceiling tiles. (There are 32!) Lost brain cells my butt, I think you got smarter with all that thinkin about . . . stuff.

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