Jury Duty

There was a sign that read “NO LIQUIDS!” I looked at my purple water bottle. It is well used, but I would hate to lose it. When I reached the metal detector, the police officer standing there looked at my water bottle too, and asked, “Why are you here?”

“Jury Duty,” I replied.

“Great! You can keep your water bottle then!” he said as he showed me where to go for the day.

I headed up the escalator, not sure what was going to happen. This was the first time I’d actually gone to jury duty; the first time I was called I was a nursing Emmy, and so was excused. I figured I was due, but I was also hoping I wouldn’t get picked to serve on a jury. I didn’t want to miss my daughters’ last swimming lesson the next day…not so much because I wouldn’t see them swim, although they are getting to be like little fishes. No, it was more like I was addicted to sitting by the pool with my Nook, able to read without watching said little fishes. Without their swimming teachers in attendance, they are constantly begging “Watch me, Mom! Watch me! WATCH ME!”

I checked into the jury assembly room, and sat down, prepared to wait it out with my Nook and VBS lesson planning. As people kept sauntering in well past 9:00, I realized I hadn’t needed to make that panic-stricken phone call to my sister-in-law, asking her to come a couple minutes earlier to watch the girls so I wouldn’t be late.

It wasn’t long before we were asked to move closer to the TV screen so we could watch a video. As Lester Holt was explaining court room procedure, I began to think that maybe I did want to be called into the courtroom. It would be an interesting experience, and better than just sitting around waiting. Looking out the glass door at people rushing around reminded me of my favorite show, The Good Wife which takes place in the same county I was serving. Would a real courtroom be at all similar to the TV show? I doubted it!

We waited. The room, filled with strangers, was absolutely quiet. No one turned on the TV. No one chatted; there was no small talk. We all sat in our own little bubbles, doing our own things. A room full of anonymous people.

It must be part of our nature to start to assign characteristics to strangers. We know nothing about them but what we observe in a forced situation. I avoided looking at the staring man with nothing to do. When laptop and tablet man with a tie got up to make a phone call, I’m sure I was not the only one who looked up at the sudden talking. After our lunch break, I made sure to sit far away from perpetual sighing lady.

After a long day of waiting under headache-inducing fluorescent lighting, no one was needed in the courtroom. We collected our checks and filed out of the room. We all completed our duty for at least a year.

And I would get to go see Lily and Emmy swim the next day.

Have you ever served on jury duty? Were you called into the courtroom?


13 Replies to “Jury Duty”

  1. Yes I have served jury duty and I have been on a jury. For the last several years I have been on call. Sometimes for a week and sometimes for two weeks calling each night to see if you have to go in. I just had a week of calling in June but did not have to show.

  2. I came close once. I was called into the courtroom for selection and would have been the next person questioned when they selected the last person they needed. There was a funny exchange for those of us watching the questioning and selection.

    One of the potential jurors being questioned looked enough like the judge to be a brother or a son. Different ages and hairstyles, but very close resemblance. When asked if he knew anyone involved in the proceedings, he said "No, Sir, but you look familiar. Do we know each other?"

    The Judge said "I don't think so, but I was just thinking the same thing myself. You look really familiar. If you think of where we know each other from, let me know".

    The rest of us, watching in the gallery, didn't say a word and stifled our bad case of the giggles. As far as I know, they never realized that they had been looking at each other in the mirror for a lifetime. At least while the rest of us were watching.

    I think some of the trial process would be interesting, but based on that experience, I think that most of the time I would be bored beyond belief.

  3. I have been called once to jury duty. I was dreading having to drive an hour or more (In traffic) just to be at the courthouse before 8 am. Thankfully, the jury duty notice also came with a number to call which I dutifully called the day before, that told me I was not required to report for jury duty the next day.
    My recent post Scrub-A-Dub

  4. I've only been called once, and I wasn't chosen. It was a rather boring day, and sadly we weren't allowed to bring in knitting, so I read. It's hard to not have something for my hands to do!
    My recent post Mayday!

  5. Hi Ginny,

    I have never been asked to be a juror. I think it would be kind of interesting, though stressful too. My hubby has done it and he shared about it after the fact, of course! I think it is human nature to start characterizing people. And sometimes those first impressions do stick! Enjoy watching those little "fishes" of yours!
    My recent post Isn’t a Bikini Parade Just Harmless Summer Fun?

  6. I've never served on a jury, but I've always sort of wanted to! Of course at this point in my career it would be near impossible to not be in the office for a trial though, so I'm not sure how I would pull it off.

    Thanks for stopping by for my SITS day. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. It is so hard.
    My recent post Hanging at the Park

  7. I've been called twice – once I was nursing and was excused and this last time I was excused b/c I don't have child care – I said I'd be bringing a 3 and 4.5 year old with me. Guess they didn't think that would be a good idea!

  8. I've had jury duty twice in the last two years, and both times it was exactly the same as yours. I just sat there doing nothing all day, and then was dismissed. The first time, I was about 6 months pregnant, and since nobody wants to hire a middle-aged pregnant actress, it would have been the perfect time to actually serve on a jury, but it didn't happen. I was kind of disappointed, I've always been fascinated by the criminal justice system.
    My recent post Spin Cycle: Comedy

  9. It is so nice to meet you. I love your stories. When I working full-time, I was never called to jury duty much to my dismay, but once I became a stay-at-home mom, I was called. I didn't want to go then. I went, and got questioned on the jury, but at the time, I was still doing some contract PR work for the NC Dept. of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. I was dismissed by the defense.

    I look forward to reading more. Thanks for your comment on my blog today. Leigh

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