Sunday, August 14, 2005
Jury Duty Hell - Part. 1
Let me preface this tale by saying my headcold from Hades had turned into a full blown evil bout of acute sinusitis. And when did the bulk of the pain decide to start? You guessed it, Thursday night - the night before jury duty.
If it were any other normal day (normal for my world), I would have called out of work. And you can't call out of jury duty, right?
For those of you who serve jury duty in Philly County, your summons has a phone number on it. If you call the number the night before you have to go, there is a possibility you can be excused. It seems Philly is notorious for overbooking and then cancelling court dates. If I would have called Thursday night, I would have been excused.
So here I go on the R7 train at 7:03 heading for Suburban Station. The left side of my face is hypersensitive - I can't even chew without having tears roll down my face. I had no coffee. I only had my HP Goblet of Fire book for entertainment. Not a good choice when you eyes want to roll out of your head. I have an iPod - forgot it. I have a Nintendo DS - forgot it. At least the train ride was pleasant and comfortable and quick (I was on the express).
I arrived at 16th and JFK Blvd at 7:39 - the exact time I was supposed to arrive. Thank goodness there was a Dunkin Donuts at the top of the steps from the platform. One large high octane coffee with cream later and I was above ground staring at all the tall buildings like a country mouse visiting the city for the first time. I just had to keep my bearings and walk down JFK to the Criminal Court building. I was so damn out of it I almost got squished a few times by cars who I swear were aiming at anyone who resembled a possible tourist. I don't recall how I made it but I did. And I was fifteen minutes. Ya-friggin-hoo.
I had to surrender the mobile. Stupid thing about electronic devices like mobiles and laptops not permitted in the building. Dumbass rule.
Went through a metal detector, walked around the corner and there was my destination - the room with a couple hundred chairs and free refreshments. It was there that they announced all the smart people who called the night before were excused. But since we were there, we couldn't leave. Bastards. I filled out my questionaire and thought "Light day means I might get out early. Yes!"
The first case was up. They needed 45 potential jurors. They called out names and assigned numbers. I watche dthe person to my left get called at number 16 and the one to my right at 20. Then I head my name at 26. Dammit!
Here we go, two by two, out of the building into the nasty sweltering city heat to City Hall. My head was killing me and there was no way out. I was swaying between fainting and getting sick. Something in me just said hold on and it will all be over. I figured another two hours, they'll pick who they need and we'll be dismissed for the day. I had a hardship to prevent me from serving on any jury. She's two and a half. Up to the 6th floor we went and into the room that was to be my prison for the afternoon.
to be cont'd