Today I had the strange pleasure of going in for jury duty. I’ve been on call since Monday and I got to that irrationally casual mindset where I thought the whole week would sail by without me getting to sit in a fluorescent-lit room with a bunch of other registered voters and licensed drivers. Then this morning, when I called in to the jury hotline, they told me my number was up and to be there at 12:30 p.m., which was right in the middle of lunchtime at Jackson’s school where I was helping to fill bowls with udon noodles and baking sheets with almond cookies. (It was fancy. Jackson hated it. He is not a “soup person.”)
I was late to the juror orientation but I got there just in time for the video. The last time I got this far in the jury selection process was before Jackson was born so I don’t remember the orientation video being so relentlessly upbeat about what it means to serve on a jury. It’s not all just crime scene photos and night terrors! No, it’s seeing the judicial process at work, helping to make decisions that no one person should have the power to make alone, looking deep inside yourself to find the truth, and making lifelong friends with other jurors. It’s like criminal justice summer camp. (Or business deals gone terribly wrong summer camp, or one long let’s-just-cut-this-baby-in-half high school reunion.)
Then the judge came in. He wasn’t wearing robes, he was in a nice dark suit with a yellow tie and he seemed very kind and wise and I liked him right away. He thanked us all for the sacrifices we’d made to come there, but apparently the sight of all of us potential jurors gathering had made someone on the prosecution or the defense realize that shit was getting real, that their case was actually going to trial, and they decided to settle. The judge said that this sort of thing happens a lot. He said he was glad to see so many happy faces reacting to his news, then he apologized to those who were looking forward to serving on a jury, then he said he was open for Q & A and everyone laughed, and then he wished us happy holidays and we all applauded.
But after watching the video (and discovering I had no idea I was so susceptible to woodenly-acted government-produced films) and listening to the judge (who I suddenly wished were my uncle), I actually was a little disappointed. Not that my life needs to be upended by a trial at the moment, but I feel like a seed was planted in me that hopes someday, before my mind gives out completely, I will be on a jury. But not for something awful; and not for some squabble about property. I think my ideal trial would be if someone famous did something funny and then somebody who was watching it died laughing, but the person who died was really old and so they died perfectly happy, and the dead person’s relatives were all very nice but they felt the needed to sue the famous person so that the dead person’s widow wouldn’t lose her house or something, and at first the famous person is all NO WAY because everyone always wants a piece of her or him, but then s/he sees that it’s the right thing to do and accepts the verdict gracefully. So, some sort of feel-good comedy civil suit. I’m just putting it out there, universe.
And thus ends our regularly-scheduled National Blog Posting Month. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have, which is to say intermittently and with sudden unpredictable spurts of commitment to keeping track of my life and my thoughts. You’re welcome, posterity.