I made it into my 40s before I got the dreaded letter in the mail: please report for jury duty.
So I whined and complained for a few weeks about my fate, asked everyone I knew about their experiences with jury duty (everybody got off), and then dragged my butt to the courthouse on a recent Friday morning.
Here, in chronological order, is what I endured:
- Go through metal detector and wonder about all the people in line who ask, “Can I bring my phone?” even though there are 52 signs that say you can’t bring your phone.
- Sign in, get a name tag, and write down my conflicts for the next 2 months.
- Take a seat in a windowless room with 109 of my newest friends.
- Return to the log up front because I suddenly remember another conflict.
- Go back again because I need to add my email address.
- Sit down. Stare ahead. Wonder what’s going on today as the letter from the court was pretty vague.
- Listen to the clerk explain what’s going on today. Son of a Gun, it’s Jury SELECTION today, not even Jury Duty. They are picking the juries for the next 2 months at this courthouse. Hello? That would have been helpful to put in the letter. Geesh.
- Realize that I didn’t bring a book and that I should have.
- Make idle chit chat with the gentleman next to me.
- Watch a very cheesy “Lamp of Freedom” video about jury duty that was probably filmed in 1994.
- Try not to laugh out loud every time they say “duty” in the video.
- Check clock. I’ve been here 1 hour.
- Sit. Stare. Wonder.
- Watch The Andy Griffith Show, which is our entertainment now that the “Lamp of Freedom” video is over.
- Think of other courtroom shows that would be better than Andy Griffith: Law and Order, LA Law, People’s Court, Judge Judy, Night Court.
- Start to contemplate hurting something or someone after 4th time hearing that whistling from The Andy Griffith Show theme song.
- Walk up and down the hall liked a caged animal.
- Eat a donut.
- Eat a bagel.
- Get called to court. Watch 7 other lucky individuals get picked to serve on a drunk driving case in a month.
- Return to the jury room, its donuts and bagels, and The Andy Griffith Show.
- Get called back to court.
- Barely sit down. The court calls me as a juror.
- Realize that I know none of the judges, lawyers, defendants, or even the bailiff, that I have no experience with the case’s topic, and that I’m pretty much stuck on this jury.
- Reap the reward of $25.00 for more than half day of jury duty and for slowly going mad with The Andy Griffith Show theme song before getting to leave at 2:30 pm.
- Psych myself up to do my civic duty as a juror in a month.
- Duty. Hee hee.
That’s jury duty for me, well, at least the selection process. How was jury duty for you?
Pro tip: bring a book! And ear plugs should your court have a fondness for The Andy Griffith Show.