Monday last was my first adventure into the jury selection process since the mid 1980′s. Back then, I made it all the way into the court room and interviews by the attorneys in a Federal case, something dealing with drugs. I was excused by the prosecution, probably due to my age. Ever since, every time I’ve been sent a juror summons, my group was excused on the recorded message the day before the appearance was demanded. This week, my group made it to the courthouse, but didn’t have to be there until 1pm. So I gussied up, showed up, and wondered if I would see the inside of a court room this trip. Well, it appears any jury duty will be a bit like my attempts to get my current job. Inch a bit closer, each try, and eventually, years later, land that puppy.
So I sat. We watch a movie on the honor bestowed upon us to be selected as jurors. It’s about ten minutes long. After it’s done, the DVD player’s screen saver kicks in. (CNN or something would be nice. Anything but Fox. But nothing, just that damned DVD logo, randomly blinking into different spots on the screens) An hour passes. An hour and 15 minutes. The only thing helping maintain my sanity is Jake, Rolando, and Matt keeping my mind occupied with the game Words With Friends on my iPhone. Thanks, guys! (I’m really bad at that game. Especially against Jake.) An hour and 30 minutes. Oh! They’re calling folks to go to courtroom 3! Miss Monotone on the microphone keeps rattling off names, and I’m beginning to wonder if there’s going to be anyone left at all when she’s done. Finally the drone stops, with only a few names being mangled, mine not among those called nor mangled. I’m not going anywhere. I decide that I really need some Pepsi, so I slide a dollar into the vending machine in the little “break room”. As I’m ready to walk out of the vending room into the waiting room, I pop the top of the Pepsi can, without looking at it, and start to walk out. That’s when I simultaneously hear an odd foaming noise, and feel my hand getting instantly wet and sticky. Seems the trip through the soda machine got my can all worked up, and left me making a mess in a room with no paper towels! A water cooler provided a quick rinse, and serenity was restored to my world. And caffeine to my bloodstream.
Two hours. Finally, Miss Monotone on the microphone announces that the rest of us “are dismissed, please leave the juror badges in the basket so you get counted as being here” (shades of junior high school!), and see her “if a letter to the boss is required”. According to what I understand (and there’s no guarantee I understood it correctly) it will be a year before I’m called again. I was actually looking forward to the possibility of duty, as I would like to see the operation from a point of view other than that of a movie. Oh well, maybe next year.