A while ago I received the most dreaded piece of mail imaginable. Not credit card offers. Not even credit card bills. Nay, worse. A summons for JURY DUTY.
Yesterday my date arrived to show up and serve my time. I joined almost 40 other potential jurors in a crammed room of the court house and we started to get our sweat on. That room was warm. We were shown a video basically saying "Stop being so crabby about being here. It's your civic duty, even if it's inconvenient. So suck it up and stop whining you big baby!" (Disclaimer: the video never used the words "crabby" or "suck it up" or "stop whining" but the message was clear.)
Then we waited there in the
At the precise moment when people had become so overheated that we were going to start taking our shirts off, we were taken into the court room. There, we got a little run down from the judge. The plan for the day: 1) fill out a survey, 2) take a lunch break, then 3) come back for individual interviews with the judge and lawyers.
We were told that the big mass of us would be trimmed down to 19 by the end of the day, and then that group would be trimmed again to the final jury of 8 members. We would be called back randomly and once the 19 were selected, everyone else could leave.
We returned from lunch at 1pm and waited in the court room as people were called back to the judge's office. Everyone sat in quiet anticipation. Interviews were taking about 15 minutes EACH (FYI: getting through 40 people may literally take forever.)
Some people returned after their interview with a big smile because they had been dismissed. Some people came back with a dejected face and reluctantly took an available juror seat. And some people didn't come back at all! They vanished, never to be seen from again. I figured they gave a wrong answer the judge threw them right in the paddy wagon.
I sat there and waited as the minutes, then hours dragged by. I was so thankful I brought a book. I felt so sad for the suckers who didn't have a book and had to stare at their hands for almost five hours. There was little talking. Every once in a while you'd hear a little giggle, but it soon returned to silence.
Following our lunch break when we had been sitting there for four and a half hours I thought to myself "I could have run a marathon in the time I've been sitting here!" The crowd slowly dwindled until there were three of us left. And finally, finally at 5:43pm the three of us were told that all spots had been filled and we could go home.
No interview, no real-life-CSI action, no excitement. Just "Okay, you can go home now." Aside from my lunch break, this little experience took 9 hours and 43 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. But - on the bright side - I did earn $18 jury pay for my day of "service". I think I would have rather run a marathon.
Have you had the "pleasure" of jury duty before?
This was a first for me.