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?