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September 24, 2002

So Monday was my first

So Monday was my first day as a juror. Got up at 5 in order to catch a train to Brooklyn. While going through the security line there was an African man ahead who wore a fancy gold crown and a blue-and-silver paisley robe trimmed with golden lace and tassels. He was asked to remove the crown and robe for inspection. In the waiting room he got up to speak to the people behind the desk, eliciting comments and laughter. He left and didn't come back, so I expect His Highness must've gotten excused from service.

I wanted nothing more than to stretch out on the floor for a nap, having only gotten four hours of sleep. My name wasn't called and we got an hour and a half for lunch. I spent most of it outside the courthouse, munching on some pasta salad while watching a bunch of kids from a school throw balls and run around screaming with delight - boys, tomboys and girly girls who just walked around tossing their hair in their midriff baring outfits. They couldn't have been more than ten or eleven, so that was rather unsettling. (Naturally I was never that trendy or cool or self-possessed but I'm glad I did not have Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera for idols.) There was also a touch football game going on with a bunch of guys. I was surprised when I returned that most of the waiting room was filled up - you'd think everybody would have waited as long as they could before having to come back inside and squash up in those uncomfortable chairs again.

My name gets called in the afternoon, and by then I'm willing to leap out of my chair for a change of scenery. The courtroom is bland, chilly and quiet, so every sound you'd normally take little notice of is amplifed. People cough, stomachs rumble, and there's fierce, incessant whispers - mostly speculation and grumbling from people who think that just because they've watched Law & Order they know all about the legal system. I know most people aren't really happy to have to show up. Just being there, available for duty, is considered serving - perhaps the thrill of citizenship is too low-key for folks. But sheesh - you have to be there, you've got other things you'd rather be doing, blah blah blah. Well you're not the only one - just shut up already! During the brief recess I managed to change seats because the guys next to me - much older, who should've known better - whispered like mad and leaned their feat against the short wall separating us from the rest of the courtroom. Unfortunately I got stuck with some women on either side of me who kept whispering to themselves or to each other.

I wanted to skin myself alive.

So democracy grinds on. The case was boring as hell and I did not regret missing the chance to sit on that jury. I have to work today but I'm on call for the next two weeks. If I have to serve, let it actually be an interesting case. But my work experience tells me that most litigation is usually a variation on slow-burn boredom.

However - there was a big, bright plus to this day. While letting my mind wander in the waiting room, too tired to read the stuff I'd brought with me, I came up with an idea for a book, maybe something to do for NaNoWriMo. I scribbled two pages of notes, including a complete story line. This has never happened before - if anything, it would be lines of poetry crossing my brain. So I think I'd better do this, even if the result will be so fatuous that no one, not even Husband, will ever see it.

Yours, &c., LC | 03:47 AM |