Sep 17, 2011

My First Jury Duty Experience (written in the waiting room)

So far, I can sum it up with one word: BORING.

I suppose things would be different if I was chosen to serve on an actual case rather than just sit in the waiting room all day like cattle waiting to be called to the slaughterhouse.

Earlier. I had devised a plan to insure that I would not be chosen, but it was based on a criminal case. Unfortunately,  this is a civil court. So, no laws to argue with or jury nullification to conjure up. Rather just folks suing each other. Oh, joy.

At least a criminal case would be interesting, but two humans squabbling in a litigious situation is just boring unless it's like a class action lawsuit bringing down some evil corporation for polluting a water supply or something.

We, the potential jurors, arrived at 7:30 am at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. The courts don't open until 9:30 am. That means we had two excruciating hours of orientation. It's times like these that remind me how stupid the government thinks its citizens are. Did we really need two full hours to have the process of jury duty explained to us? And what of the multiple timers? My gods, I'll go berserk if I have to ever sit through that nonsense again. Then there was the jury duty propaganda film with cheesy patriotic sounding music and actors hired to talk about their favorite aspects of jury duty. "I just loved deliberation!" Please. Then there's the sentimental touch of two gals laughing together and hugging. "Jury Duty is deep and emotional. Many jurors stay in touch afterwards." Oh, really? Somehow I doubt it.

The highlight of the day so far is lunch. Found an interesting little inexpensive cafe called Cherry Picks with a NY deli vibe and large vegetarian selection. The espresso was a little too bitter but the sub was fantastic and I dug the jazz over the PA.

By 3:30 pm with only an hour and a half left in the day nearly every person in the room, approximately 200 people based on the number of chairs (yes, I counted them, I was that bored), were called to a courtroom for jury duty while myself and about 30 others are left still waiting. I can't help but wonder if my lack of selection has anything to do with the questionnaire I filled out upon entrance and the fact that under "What is the primary language spoken in your household?" I put "American." Or maybe it's just random. Or maybe we'll all still be called before the end of the day and it's all just dumb luck (or lack thereof).

And now for a little James Joyce stream of consciousness moment (kind of like a modern day equivalent to live tweeting if you think about it):

Not enough sleep.
Been in this room too long.
Walls closing in.
Paranoia takes over.
Too much left over adrenaline from last night's panic.
Fluorescent ceiling lights moving.
Institutional decor maddening.
Waiting too long.
Not enough food or fresh air.
Boredom consumes.
Can only read so much.
Can only surf internet so much.
8, 8.5, 9, 9.5 hours.
Get me outta here.
Head spinning.
Mind wandering.
Brain shutting down.
Did I just fall asleep?
What time is it?
Where am I?
Oh, right, jury duty.
But not even jury duty for real,
Just the waiting room.
Courthouse purgatory.
This is not interesting.
This is not fun.
I don't want to be here.
I want to run.
Long drawn out sigh.
Check phone.
Glance at Kindle.
Meh.
I wish I had a pillow.
What are other people doing?
Playing with phones.
Reading papers.
Sleeping.
They could at least tune the TVs to a channel,
Or can you not watch TV while you're waiting for jury duty?
4 pm. 1 hour left.
What will happen?
Will I be called yet?
Or will the day pass quiet and uneventful?
Civic duty, my ass.
Cleared for the day at 4 pm.
What a colossal waste of time...
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