Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jury Duty Hell - Part. 4

Jury duty was zapping the life out of me. That, and a headcold with a wicked disposition. I couldn't stand the waiting in mind-numbing boredom any longer. I decided to take up new residence on the floor in the back of the court room and passed out. It was a blank sleep. No dreams. No colors. No nothing.

Suddenly, my body jerked out of sleepmode. That creepy feeling of "oh crap I over slept and now I am late for work" wisked through me like ice. I shot up and stared wide eyed all around me. The "school" group looked at me. They smiled and said, "Don't worry. We know you're 26. If they call you, we'll wake you up." I got up and walked over to the cooler. I didn't feel to reassured that I would get a wake-up call. I poured yet another itty bitty cone cup of water. I looked around the back of the room and noticed I had started a trend. There was about five other people all curled up in fetal positions, snoozing, waiting to be released. I smiled. I never saw myself as a trend setter. Go figure. No sooner did I take a sip of water than did the court room door open and I heard "Juror 26". The group gave a few "there ya go" and a couple of "just in time"s. I smiled sheepishly. I must have looked wretched by now. I grabbed my gear and walked across the hall to the "other" room.

The interview was quite painless. They asked me a few questions about my knowledge of cardio whatever and past malpractice lawsuits of which I was involved. I told them over and over I had a two year old and no, I had no one to watch her, and yes, it would be a major hardship. I was informed again the trial was going to take approximately two weeks. I chuckled and said I could not do it. No way. I must have sounded like David Spade with the various forms of "no" I was throwing around. I didn't mean to sound sarcastic. I realized the defendants, the prosecution, and all others involved have been stuck just as long as I had been. But I was at the end of my tether and I wanted out. So with seemingly satisfied looks, I was dismissed.

Back to the giant chamber I go.

I wanted to resume my sleep pattern, but the door opened and it was the court guy followed by the lawyers and finally the judge. They sat themselves down and had a look of "Thank God it's over". This was it! The moment we had all been wating for! It ... was ... going ... to ... finally ... end!

The judge began with a short but eloquent apology for the day we had. She thanked all of us for persevering under such conditions.

And the winning numbers were ... oh, I can't remember all that. All I remember hearing was 22 followed by 29. Wa-hoo!! I wasn't one of the 14! I made the cut! I wanted to do an Irish tap dance! I wanted to Lambada! I wanted to go the hell home!!

It was the funniest rush I had seen since my high school days. We looked a bunch of kids racing to catch the bus after school. The elevators were going so slow. I looked to my left at the stairs. Then to the right to the elevators.

Left. Right. Left. Right. I went left. Good choice!

Stairs going down are much easier to handle. I wanted to skip but I was afraid due to my raging disease. A few people followed my lead this time. Cowards. Couldn't handle it this morning, could ya?

When we got to the Criminal justice building, we were met with a couple of Criminal Justice Buildingpieces of not so happy news. First, the jury duty area had closed around noon time. They were done for the day so they left. What did that mean for us? No checks. It's not the money (a whole $9) that was the problem. It was we needed the checks for proof that we were at jury duty for our employers. Also, for those who drove, no validation of parking tickets for a reduced rate. That last one did not sit well with one woman. She got rather loud and demanded that someone validate her ticket. She was pissed. I couldn't blame her, but I was in selfish mode. I had a train ticket and I was waiting in line to get my cell phone. I happily collected my phone and turned it on. The time read 4:58. Holy cats! My train was due in at 5:11 and I had a ten minute walk.

I rustled ever ounce of energy my little body had left and bolted for the door. It was hot and I was still sick. Didn't matter .. had to move. I crossed streets with groups of more than two. It must be an unwritten rule for driving in Center City. Cars will aim for groups of less than three. I was on pure auto-pilot. My phone beeped. I had a voicemail. I reached 16th and JFK Blvd. I started down the steps. The phone rang. I reached the doors at the bottom and lost my signal completely. Oh well. I supposed if it was a huge emergency whoever it was would leave another message. I scrambled to find my train platform. They are doing renovations at Suburban Station underground; hence, everything is all topsy-turvy. I darted all over checking signs. I was, to the daily train traveler, a novice. Everyone avoided me. Good move. I found my platform. I had two minutes to spare.

Whew.

The ride was just as pleasant as it was in the morning. I checked the messages - they were from mom and dad. They were worried since they had not heard from me all day. They were afraid I was the next LaToyia Figueroa. I assured all was fine and I was on my way home. My dad told me he'd pick me up after he picked up the pizza for dinner; I told him the train was due in at 5:37. I tried calling Geo but it was no use. I couldn't hear a word he was saying. I just said I'd call him later and snapped the phone shut. Little did I know what was in store for me on the return call. I rolled my head to the side and watched the images of North Philly sweep into Northeast Philly. Funny. At times, it all looked the same.

The train rolled in at exactly 5:37 (gosh I love the train). I walked down the platform steps in time to see my dad's Buick Park Avenue turn the corner. I barely let the man stop. He slowed down, I grabbed the handle, opened the door, and slumped into the seat. Even though I could barely breathe, I could still smell the pizza sitting the backseat. I closed my eyes. I felt safe.

My dad was listening to sports talk on the AM. He loves driving on his own time. He doesn't have to be tortured with easy listening music that my mom so adores. Yuck.

"So," he asked "how'd it go today?"

I opened my eyes and proceeded to go over my wonderful day at jury duty.

6 comments:

Piggy and Tazzy said...

Awwwww. I wanted to hear that you'd been selected to be on the Skylar Deleon murder trial jury :(

Maidink said...

So sorry. Maybe next time I'll get criminal court (she says with wide eyes tapping fingers together)

Besides, his will be held in California which is on the other side of the planet.

PaxRomano said...

WOW!

I had jury duty the Spring before last here in Joisey (Burlington County); it was the most painless thing I'd done in years! In fact I wanted to be picked but everytime they asked me what I did for a living, eyes were rolled and I was told to go back to "the pool". My day ended at three pm (oh and since I work for the state, you don't even get the rotten eight dollars for the day!!!!).

Maidink said...

Pax - Rolled eyes and no chump change? That does stink.

Merci said...

I had the most painless jury duty of all. I called in after 4pm on the previous Friday, then again on Monday. On Friday, I was told not to report on Monday. On Monday, I was told that I was dismissed. Did the entire jury service from my desk at work!

Maidink said...

Merci - why couldn't that happen to me? Jury duty usually is not a torture. This time was an extreme exception to the norm.