Sunday, December 16, 2007

"I, The Jury Duty"

Last Monday I served jury duty and no, there will be no discussion of Spillane, other than that a few of the women that were rotting away in the room with us, could've been "dames" that would've made even Mike Hammer wary.

I was supposed to serve on October 30th, but Halloween, coupled with workplace shenanigans where The Missus worked at, kept me completely distracted. So I didn't remember that I had to serve, until November 2nd. Well, I figured that they simply didn't call our pool and that I got away with it...silly goose, of course not.

On December 7th, I got a notice saying "hey, mug, youse didn't serve no jury duty and you better get down here, or we'll have to mess you up." I called up and it took me about three tries to get a hold of someone, seeing how it was a Friday and they wanted to go home. The clerk asked me if I could come down 1 PM the following Monday and I did.

I recognized some nefarious people from work and no, I don't mean fellow employees, but denizens of the street. They were going the metal detectors and lo and behold, they actually left their weapons at home. We got through faster than the last time I had been down to 850 Bryant, but that was because they have more lines and detectors than ever.

The nefarious (nefarii?) and the average citizens were there to clear up their tickets, warrants or visit their pals in jail. The rest of us went upstairs to the third floor to do time of a different nature. In theory, the difference between jury duty and jail is:

At some point, you are free to go.
No one will beat you up.
No one will try to bugger you.

Well, like I said, in theory. Actually, it was in practice, too...up to a certain point.

The seating capacity in the jury waiting room is according to the fire department, three-hundred and fifty-eight (if I remember correctly) and after the last of the stragglers crawled in at 1:30 PM, the place was a little less than two-thirds full. Other than the people sitting in the first five rows and in the Wi-fi area, no one wanted to next to someone else. No one.

So in this game of musical chairs, if you got up to get a drink or went to the bathroom too soon, someone would try to take your chair. Mind you, there were no signs that said you had to be quiet, but no one was talking. Since silence seemed to be the only thing that everyone was on the same page about, the person that found their chair occupied, glared at her squatter.

And glared.
And glared.
And glared.

And really, you didn't got the clue, yet? I was three rows back and I could feel the lasers that "Ms. Dispossessed Chair" was shooting from her eyeballs.

Ah, good, you finally figured that out. Just because there are no shivs or sharpened toothbrushes, doesn't mean that she wasn't going to grab her house keys and use them in a fist, to punch you in your temple. No, don't come over here and sit by me. Why do they always sit by me? I'm not going to nurture your dumb ass.

So that was an hour and half of this numb nut, sitting next to me, even though there other people he could've bothered. Well, it was just for the day and that's why I didn't stick him, either.

They do allow cell phones and I thought I would call the Missus and pass the boredom along...uh, no, we had to watch a video. We had to watch a video on what? That's right, how to be a juror. Remember how I was talking about "doing time of a different nature?" Well, this falls under cruel and unusual punishment.

They went over the basics of service and if you have watched as much "Law & Order" or "Perry Mason" as I have, you knew all of this over a decade ago. At one point there is this poor Filipino woman that said "I thought serving on a jury was going to be bad, but it was actually kind of fun and I enjoyed it."

Note, I can't quote her verbatim, because my brain kept shutting down in defense of my sanity. Note also that while she said this, she looked positively terrified and I belief that off camera, there was a bailiff had a cattle prod or equally menacing device. Note also that this video is almost thirty fucking minutes long!

I repeat, "cruel and unusual punishment."

Then a clerk came out and explained how long we would be on call. He also went into where we could and could not park because of towing after 3 PM (which of course, someone didn't pay attention and no, it wasn't me), as well as where to eat, and which were the best garages to park at.

That took another ten minutes, then came the wait. Did I mention that I forgot to bring a book? Well, I was running on three and a half hours of sleep, so I left the books at home as I went on auto-pilot. That meant I could call The Missus ever so often or I could try and catch up on my sleep.

The thing was that I was seated not that far from the vending machines. Whenever someone got some coffee? Well, let's just say that the coffee came out already burnt and that burnt coffee did not smell all that different from human methane. No, it wasn't me or anybody else, it was the coffee, honest.

Then as would I drift off into beautiful slumber? Ker-clunk went the soda machine. No rest for the wicked or those in the juror pool. The Missus claims the saying is actually "no rest for the weary," but they wouldn't have gotten any sleep either. Speaking of getting some, I didn't know that the juror pool was a pick-up joint, um, the ring on my ring-finger is there for a reason.

Let me cut it short because I am putting myself to sleep, it was only two hours and forty-seven minutes since I entered 850 Bryant, until I left the place. I think if we let some of these Hollywood stars do some of their sentence in this room, it would do wonders to their attitudes and it might scare them straight for life.


Blogger Bubs said...

"Well, let's just say that the coffee came out already burnt and that burnt coffee did not smell all that different from human methane."

So after all that you didn't even get to sit in judgement of your fellow man? what a gyp.

Sun Dec 16, 10:22:00 PM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


I'd almost rather vote Repub, than serve on a jury.

It's not that I love my job, but it would make for a huge logistical headache in terms of getting Procrastinator Junior to school and back. As well as the fact that I hate spending any time in court at all.

Mon Dec 17, 08:33:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bubs said...

Court is not fun. I've never understood court buffs, people who like to go and Same with court tv.

I've always found court to be a mind-numbing, nearly soul-crushing place. And I'm part of the system, so I actually know what's going on. I can't imagine what the revolving door of justice looks like to some hapless guy or gal who gets stuck having to sit through a court call as a witness, victim, family member or juror.

Tue Dec 18, 07:01:00 AM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


I don't even watch trials on Court TV and CNN anymore, the novelty is gone. Hopefully on some days, it is a respite from the job for you to testify.

Tue Dec 18, 07:33:00 AM PST  
Blogger angel said...

holy crap dude... that was hysterical! now i wanna do jury duty too!!!

Wed Dec 19, 08:27:00 AM PST  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Trust me, you don't. It is like a really bad trip to the dentist, only it takes three times as long.

Wed Dec 19, 10:03:00 AM PST  

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