Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jury Duty

No way to avoid it. I put off the date twice. Twice the postcard arrived. My husband saw my procrastination in even dialing the number after 5:00 the evening before I was "to report". "You have to go tomorrow," he yelled from the other room. I thought he was kidding, "No I don't. You never had to report and your name came up three times since we've been married. This is my first time and I know I would not have to go."

Wrong! I slept soundly the night before reporting for jury duty selection. This lack of anxiety was new to me. Why was I not nervous? My aversion to standing in lines and in new places with new faces did not enter my brain. Part of me was actually just wanting to "getter done."

I arrived slightly late. After finding the place, standing in a short line while guzzling the last of my Starbucks and listening to a middle-aged woman directly behind me complain to anyone who would listen that she did not want to be there - - I finally saw the framed picture of The President and his Vice on the wall behind the metal detector. I hand over my possessions, identification and jury duty card to the man at the desk. He takes my possessions and then says, "You're in the wrong building. This is the Federal Building. You are called to State service." Ugh. And I thought I was just about on time. I go through the metal detector anyways, ask for my possessions, bid the President and Vice good day and head out on foot in search of the place I need to be.

My wonderful husband who had just dropped me off does a "U"ie just before hitting the highway home. He stops the PT Cruiser in the middle of the busy road in search of the real place I need to be. Now I am becoming anxious. I really am late!

Fortunately, we find the building, I jump out of the car and try not to jay walk (this time - we had already done that at the Federal Building 20 minutes prior). Walking up the marble steps I see the golden glass doors but this time do not blindly follow the masses. The police officer waves me to the door for which I am grateful. Inside, a roar of voices echo off the very tall ceilings but we move quickly to the metal detectors. I am reminded of the airport and wonder, "Why me?" I see an Amnesty Box to the right. I wonder what that means and have no idea I will be personally acquainted with the Amnesty Box later in the day!

I get through easily enough and follow the line into a glass walled theater. I have to share at this point I believe I will be asked a few questions and "let go". Everyone I have talked to about jury duty shares their tips and tricks to get out of it. I see some men and women headed the other way out of the glass walled theater room. Secretly I agree with the thoughts in my head that they said they wanted to serve and that is why they are sporting a badge that informs they are a "Juror".

I was not prepared for the big movie-sized screen and the sound of bubbles that came from the underwater movie that was being shown on the screen. As I stood in line, I was comforted by the sound of bubbles and the narrator's calm voice explaining what a carp ate while living its life out in the depths of the sea. Surreal! Then the lady cop motioned me over and informed me that I would be a juror at 8:30. I said, "Oh so I have to come back tomorrow?" She said, "No, you have to perform your jury duty in 10 minutes!". I was shocked. I was surprised. I was not nervous in the sense that I usually need to escape. Possibly it was the bubbles ascending to the top of the movie screen that kept my heart from beating any faster in my chest. So this was it. I was going to learn what Jury Duty was all about firsthand. My day was just beginning.